Oh, Say, Can You See…

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 at 08:24 AM.

            I would love this Fourth of July to stand silently over in one corner of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. I believe I could hear the 2nd Continental Congress as they convened there on May, 10, 1775. All thirteen colonies were represented. The small battles of Lexington and Concord had taken place. It was time to make amends with the British……or fight. Can you imagine among John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Hancock, Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin who listened to whom! It was about as impressive a list of founding fathers as any nation has ever put together under one roof.

            And they didn’t do too badly in that room. They had the good sense to pick George Washington as the commanding General of the Army. An army, of course, which they didn’t exactly have at the moment. It was where the Declaration of Independence was born. “When in the course of human events…..” you talk about a great opening line. And how about, “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”. And after enumerating all the injustices heaped on them by King George and the Crown they closed brilliantly, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

            Man, if I could write like that, I’d be a millionaire!

            Ben Franklin, off the record, put it a little more succinctly, “If we don’t all hang together, we’ll all hang separately.”

            If I had a time machine, I’d warp back to Valley Forge this Fourth of July. Of course, I couldn’t catch the essence of the place in July. The snow would be gone. It would be 90 degrees instead of 10 below freezing. You wouldn’t have to scrounge up fire wood. If wouldn’t matter that you had no shoes.

It’s hard to imagine hunger on a full belly. 

The winter of 1777-78 was brutal. Cold descended on the little valley like you ain’t never seen! Disease ran rampant in the camps. Life was worse than miserable. You have to ask yourself, “What could possibly cause a band of men in such conditions to hang on like they did.” And you might even consider what you might have done under like circumstances. Or you might pause and utter up a prayer of thanks for them on this Independence Day.



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