MEN WHO PAID FREEDOM’S PRICE

Our nation’s founding fathers knew
how to count the cost of freedom.

On July 4, 1776 , there was signed in the City of Philadelphia one of America’s most historical documents: The Declaration of Independence.

It marked the birth of this great nation which, under God, was destined for world leadership.

We often forget that, in declaring independence from an earthly power, our forefathers made a forthright declaration of dependence on God. The closing words of this forward-looking document solemnly declare:

“With a firm reliance on the protection of
Divine Providence, we mutually pledge
to each other our lives, our fortunes, and
our sacred honor.”

The fifty-six (only 56) courageous men who signed that document understood that this was not just high-sounding rhetoric. They knew that if they succeeded, the very best they could expect would be years of hardship in a struggling new nation. However, if they lost, and lose they might, they would face a hangman’s noose as traitors.

Of the fifty-six (56) few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes, from Rhode Island to Charleston, sacked, looted, occupied by the enemy, and/or burned. Two lost their sons in the army. One had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six died themselves in the war, from its hardships or from its bullets.

Whatever ideas you have had of these men who met that hot July summer in Philadelphia, it is important that we remember certain facts about the men who made this fantastic pledge: they were not poor men, or wild-eyed pirates. They were all men of means; rich men, most of them, who enjoyed much ease and luxury in their personal lives. Not hungry men, but very prosperous men, wealthy landowners, substantially secure in their personal prosperity, and well-respected individuals in their own respective communities.

But they considered liberty much more important than the security they enjoyed, and so they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Then they fulfilled their pledge. They paid the agreed price. And freedom was won. Someone has said, “to be born free is a privilege. To die free is an awesome responsibility.”

Yet freedom is never free. It is always purchased at great cost. Little did John Adams know how significant his words would be when he spoke to his wife, Abigail, on the passing of the Declaration of Independence and said, “I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states; yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means.”

To those who sacrificed for our freedom, the end was worth the painful means. Where would we, who are citizens of the United States of America, be today if there had not been those before us who counted the cost of freedom and were willing to pay for it? And, where will we be tomorrow if men and women of integrity do not come forward today and pay the price to reclaim a dying America?

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D.U.O Project
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