I just stumbled across an incredible site today. I was looking for a photo and transcript of the Declaration of Independence and found the government archives where images and transcripts of all our government’s most cherished documents are cataloged.
If you want to get lost in history, go to the National Archives site www.archives.org. Besides the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, they have Edison’s patent for the light bulb, the canceled check for the purchase of Alaska, the Apollo 11 flight plan and more. I had to keep pulling myself out of this incredible website to refocus or you would be staring at a blank page right now. Well, not really, you would be looking at yesterday’s post, but you get the drift.
I just read the Declaration of Independence. I thought I had read it before, but when I went to the archives, I realized that I had only read or heard snippets.
It is wordy, cumbersome and over half of it is devoted to a list of the colonies’ grievances against ‘The King of Great Britain’. In spite of this, I felt overwhelmed and emotional as I read the words and realized their full impact.
“We hold these truth to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
This page looks so unassuming – stained, faded and smudged with fingerprints. Copies of this beloved document have sold for over $8 million dollars. It is impossible to place a monetary value on the original parchment.
The members of the Second Continental Congress in 1776 were considered rebels and traitors by the King. Rewards were posted for the capture of prominent rebel leaders and at that time a British armada was assembled outside New York harbor. 56 members of Congress (one of them a Rutledge!) from all 13 colonies signed this document and pledged their lives, their fortunes and their honor to freedom’s cause.
I am honoring these men and others like them, who pledged their lives to secure our freedom. They are my personal heroes.
God bless America!