Yankee Doodle by A. M. Willard

We celebrate the official birth of our nation this month, when in 1776, delegates to the Second Continental agreed to approve a resolution of independence from Great Britain’s rule. The resolution later became known at the “Declaration of Independence.” It includes the ideas that motivated our founding fathers to put their lives, fortunes and honor at risk opposing a King and his huge army. Why did they do it? Because of ideas. Ideas like “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.”

Our founding fathers were dedicated to building a community of individuals with equal opportunities to become the best persons they could be. They believed that when mankind lives together there needs to be an organization that secures the rights for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – a Government, which is instituted among those people and deriving its powers from the consent of the governed. The powers of Governments must be limited to protecting the peace and preserving liberties. Our founding fathers recognized that the existing Government had become destructive to those terms. It took an incredible act of courage to defy that government 239 years ago. To go against the king was a crime punishable by death, but our founders knew it was worth the fight to win the freedom to govern themselves.

We use that freedom every day. It is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but is fulfillment of the responsibilities of citizenship – the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. (Adlai Stevenson). That’s patriotism.

What best describes patriotism to you? We welcome your comments.

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