Reflecting on the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July is a timely tradition. After, the Declaration is the reason for the holiday. And those important early phrases are still critical, even if they have been applied imperfectly in this country throughout our history:
“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,”
But I have always been struck by the final lines of the Declaration, which don’t receive as much attention. After laying out their case for becoming independent from England, and laying out their case against the king of England, the Founding Fathers knew full well their words would be taken as treason by British authorities, and they could be hanged for signing the Declaration. So the final words of the document are especially meaningful:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor.”
I wonder how many people today, myself included, would be willing to pledge their lives and all of their material fortune for this country.