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Dorothy’s Place: Reflecting on July 4th

Today is Independence Day. I think we should pay less attention to the fireworks and more to the meaning of our country’s founding and the values it holds dear.
Otto Whittaker’s oft quoted 1955 poem I Am The Nation begins: ‘I was born on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence is my birth certificate. ‘ Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Of them, 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 war.
They all signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well the penalty could be death if they were ever captured. Standing tall 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.
Also from Whittaker: ‘I am the nation. I stood at Lexington and fired the shot heard around the world. The bloodlines of the world run in my veins because I offered freedom to the oppressed. I am many things and many people. I am the millions of living souls and the ghost of millions who have lived and died for me. I am the nation.
‘Yes, I am the United States of America. I was conceived in freedom and, God willing, in freedom I will spend the rest of my days.
May I possess always the integrity, the courage and the strength to keep myself unshackled, to remain a citadel of freedom and a beacon of hope to the world.’
Happy July 4th to all of us!

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