Letter to the Editor

One of my favorite teachers (age 50) called me Tuesday night, July 4, and asked what I was doing. Since the fireworks show was rained out, I was just watching TV and unwinding from the day. I asked her if she read the copy of the text of the Declaration of Independence I gave her on Sunday. She said “she had not had time to read it. Nobody cares about that stuff anymore.” I replied “that’s why the country is going down the toilet.”
Needless to say the conversation ended quickly. I was upset at this and could not get to sleep until after midnight. I came close to crying for my country. I can vividly recall when and where I heard about: 1) the surrender of Germany, May 7, 1945 and 2) the surrender of Japan September 2, 1945. I was 7. In both instances I ran home to tell my mother. My Dad, age 35 with a wife and 2 children would not have to go. My uncle, single and a bit older would soon be home.
I will not repeat the entire text here. It is easily available on line in 30 seconds, maybe 1-2 minutes to print it. It seems to me that all of us in the US should start calling it what is really is; not July 4th, but Independence Day. This is what it was called when I was young and for some decades after. Now it is only a holiday, it is not called by its correct name, and all but a small minority of us only celebrate the day off, make merry, and forget the rest.
The document only covers 3 type written pages. There are basically 5 parts to it:
Introduction, one long sentence: When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary….
Preamble 5 long sentences: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all….
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted….
Indictments: A list of 27 factual grievances that the writers of the Declaration agreed were important to the undertaking of separating the 13 colonies from Britain to become a separate country.
Denunciation: A description of all the appeals made over the years to Britain to address the listed indictments. We must….Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
Conclusion: We therefore, the Representatives….mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Signatures: There were 56. I do not know how many lost their sacred Honor, but among these brave men who found it very hard to keep their fortunes (modest or not) or their lives, or both.
-- BL Bennett