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​Hot dogs and hamburgers, fireworks and sparklers. These are the things we’ve become accustomed to enjoying on the fourth of July.  

But these are not original to Independence Day. The first Independence Day past without picnics and fanfare, instead it was filled with trechory and warfare. Unlike the consequences we may endure–expanding waistlines, indigestion and unintended burns–when our Founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence they were literally signing their death warrants. Had America lost, their reward for fighting for independence and liberty would have been death by hanging or firing squad. We often think of our Founding Fathers as this group of extraordinary men, and while they certainly earned our respect and admiration, they weren’t born extraordinary. These men, and the women that supported them, were ordinary individuals who did something extraordinary because they stepped up and out. They believed in what they were doing, and they believed in the cause before them enough to risk everything. The fight for independence wasn’t easy and it wasn’t a sure thing. These individuals came from  all walks of life. Some were rich, some were poor, some were educated,some were not, there were seasoned are overnight militia, they were farmers and merchants, pastors and the unreligious. In addition to fighting the largest colonial power and strongest military at the time, the Founding Fathers faced opposition from their own neighbors who thought it best to remain a colony, and disagreements within their own ranks in terms of how best to build a new nation. What propelled these men to greatness was their resolve to figure a way though all the obstacles; their ability to find compromise yet stand firm on the issues of freedom and liberty which burned inside their souls. 

Each one of us has within ourselves the ability to go from ordinary to extraordinary just as they did. But we have to be willing to accept the risks as well as the rewards. Today too many of us are unwilling to take that risk or rock the boat for fear of reprisal, and more often than not we would also rather it be our way or the highway so we fail to compromise and find a common ground which may very well move us closer to our goals. While I love the trappings that come with celebrating Independence Day, more than that I love the lessons and sacrifices that make it possible for me to enjoying those trappings. My ancestors came from across Europe and North America, but I am an American born and bred under the Red, White and Blue, and though I don’t wear a uniform I will fight with all the power and abilities God has given me to preserve what our Founding Fathers sought to build — a nation of freedom.

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”