An Important Independence Day Tradition

Tomorrow is Independence Day.  A national holiday.  A day of celebration.

More importantly, I believe it is a day for reverence, reflection, and respect.  A day I spend extremely thankful for many reasons, one of which is a tradition I hold dear.  A Family Tradition you are now formally invited to join.

Before you and your loved ones dig in to your BBQ feast, beverages, and fireworks… after your prayer (if you’re so inclined)… I invite you to join us in reading the Declaration of Independence.  Yes, the whole thing.  If you’ll be blessed to be surrounded by friends and family, have everyone take a turn reading a small section aloud… even the little ones.  If you’ll be blessed to celebrate by yourself, I still recommend reading it out loud. (I have!).

Read those words and give some thought to their meaning.  In case you don’t want to Google up a copy, I’ve included it below so it’s easy to print out.

It’s easy to forget their reasons and rationale for declaring Independence from their own government and King.  Do any news articles over the last few years, even over the last few decades… and more importantly – issues you rarely see in the news… relate to their list of grievances our Founders listed for us?

It’s easy to forget, looking back from 2014, those words came before, and embody, eight years of a brutal civil war… as we were all British prior to July of 1776.

“… a Brother’s Sword has been sheathed in a Brother’s breast… the once happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched with Blood, or inhabited by Slaves.  Sad alternative.  But can a virtuous Man hesitate in his choice?” –George Washington

It’s easy to forget how our countrymen, either by signing that document, or by walking musket in hand away from their family, were taking one very large step… through a very dark doorway… into a very dark and unknown future.

“Do not fire unless fired upon.  But if they mean to have War, let it begin here.” — John Parker, Captain of Lexington Militia


It’s easy to forget they were immediately signing their own death warrant.  If not by their own military’s bayonet during war… then by their own government’s noose when the smoke finally cleared and executions for treason began…………. if they didn’t defeat the best trained and most feared military the world had ever seen.

It’s easy to forget “No Taxation Without Representation” and “Liberty or Death” were not Tshirt slogans or something to scrawl on a sign with no thought as to the meaning.

It’s easy to forget the Declaration’s words were not just for them.  They wrote them for us.  They are a Declaration, not Creation, of (some) human rights no one can take away.

“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.”

It’s easy to forget the Principles for which they fought and died.  For you.

It’s easy to forget.

“Posterity, you will never know how much it cost my generation to preserve your freedom… If you should ever forget, we will repent in Heaven for having taken half the pains.” – John Adams

So now you’re formally invited to read the Declaration of Independence with us.

And Remember.

The full text is below, which you can easily print to take with you.  It’s the perfect side dish to take to any family picnic. :)

– Mike

Question of the Day: Will you join us?

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — 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.

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8 comments on “An Important Independence Day Tradition
  1. Vickie says:

    Your tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence is such a good and reverent one, and a new tradition I think I will start with my family. So often we get caught up in the celebrations of the day, but forget the reason for the celebration. Thank you for reminding us all!
    Vickie recently posted…Brewing Ginger AleMy Profile

  2. Janet Garman says:

    Oh my goodness, Mike, this has just risen to the top of my list of favorite blog posts ever. I was searching for just this type of thought out post. Thank you so so much for writing it. – Janet
    Janet Garman recently posted…Australian Shepherd, Good Idea? or Great Idea?My Profile

  3. Kat says:

    Tjis was an outstanding article, I enjoyed it so very much and I am happy to say that our house reads the Declaration of Independence as well!! Last year our kids thought we were looney…but they participated and learned a thing or two! Thank you again!
    Kat recently posted…10 Tips For Aromatherapy NewbiesMy Profile

  4. Ann says:

    Happy Fourth!!
    Ann recently posted…Canadian cocktails and Sriracha sauceMy Profile

    • Mike says:

      I know you just had Canada Day, but go blow some shit up tomorrow. If anyone challenges you, tell them you got permission from a guy with some ducks.

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  1. […] but took a few minutes, at the suggestion of Gentleman Homesteading Consulting, for this Important Independence Day Tradition — reading the Declaration of Independence. I have read it, of course, but I had never really […]

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