of July … and why we celebrate it.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the
Five were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the
Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds
or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives,
their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven
were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners: men
of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of
full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy
planter and trader saw his ships swept from the seas by the British
Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British
that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served
in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His
possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of
Dillery Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and
Middleton. At the battle of
Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted
that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home
for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to
open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties
destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few
months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was
dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his
gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in
forests and caves, returning to find his wife dead and his children
vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken
heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the
American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing
ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had
security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall and straight,
and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of the declaration,
with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we
mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our
They gave you and me a free and independent
The history books told you a lot of what happened in the
Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British
subjects at that time and we fought our own government!
Some of us take these liberties so much for
granted, but we shouldn't. So take a few minutes while enjoying your
4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much
to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: Freedom is never free! I hope you
show your support by sharing this with as many people as you can.
It's time we get the word out that Patriotism is NOT a sin, and the
Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball