Presented by Steven M. Sultanoff,
Past President of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor
Fourth of July Thoughts
(I could not find the original source for this and I hope that it is accurate, but as so much that passes through the Internet, I cannot guarantee its truthfulness. Whether or not this piece is true, it does offer us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the Fourth Of July Holiday)
Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th,
Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the
last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men
who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as
traitors, and tortured before they died.
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 of Independence knowing 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 rags.
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
kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from
him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of
Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walalton, Guinett, 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 home 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, straight, and
unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this
declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine
providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our
lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave you and me a free and independent America.
The history books never told you a lot about 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!