Friday, January 22, 2010
Many years ago, before the sky was painted red and black by the smoke from the airplanes that crashed into the tall twin towers in New York, before a young man knelt in a grove and beheld a remarkable vision, and before the “broad stripes and bright stars” were sung about so movingly by a man on a ship, a group of men gathered and drafted a document that would change forever the very course of human history. Moved upon by God, these men risked their lives, their families, and everything they had to secure liberty for themselves and their posterity. Bravely, they drafted a document emancipating themselves from what claimed to be their mother country in favor of an undetermined form of self government. They pledged their lives to each other, signing a document that, were they caught by any of the myriad of soldiers surrounding their homes, would be sure to mean death for them and likely their families. Someone said they could imagine a solemn silence descending upon that room full of men after they signed their names to that historic document. I was imagining the same thing when I heard that comment. How those brave men must have felt, uniting together and risking everything for such a great cause as this. It is easy to take this document for granted. For years, I learned about it in school, hearing its words and sometimes almost laughing at its boldness. Hearing what the signers of the Declaration of Independence risked, however, I no longer laugh at the idea of its revolutionary, free spirit. I believe it was an inspired document, its drafters guided by God to create and publish a proclamation that would unite the hearts of a previously divided people against oppression and towards liberty. The Declaration of Independence is an incredible piece of our history. I have heard it quoted often, and have often marveled at it and appreciated the finery of its writing and its impact on American history. However, thinking of the signers as people, and thinking of what they risked so that I could enjoy some of the wonderful privileges I enjoy as an American, and as a woman on top of that, makes me appreciate the Declaration of Independence and its signers in a whole new way.