Two hundred and thirty nine years ago today, John Hancock signed his name in bold, large script – so that King George could read it, Hancock said, without needing his glasses. Let us all be every bit as proud of that declaration and the amazing nation that sprang forth from it.
Our nation is the most powerful, most charitable and the wealthiest among nations. Our citizens have changed the world with innovations from the cotton gin to the Internet.
But material things are not the core contributions of our nation; the true contributions are moral. There is a sentence in the Declaration that each of us knows by heart: “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.” Our nation has made permanent the ideas of equality; the requirement for the consent of the governed; and the centrality of basic freedoms like speech and worship. The vindication of the justice and power of these principals through these many years has created an ideal, a source of hope for individuals around the world. No matter our many imperfections, we are that “city upon a hill.”
As we enjoy hot dogs, fireworks and the company of family and friends, please take a reflective moment to join me in gratitude for our freedoms and for the wisdom of our founders.
May God watch over our uniformed men and women, fighting for our freedom this Independence Day, and may God bless the United States of America.