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What July Fourth Means to Me
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By J. Mollett
Other Poems by J. Mollett



  
What July Fourth Means to Me

by Jean Mollett

What July Forth Means to Me
By Ronald Reagan

For one who was born and grew up in the small towns of the Midwest, there is a special kind of nostalgia about the Fourth of July.

I remember it as a day almost as long-anticipated as Christmas. This was helped along by the appearance in store windows of all kinds of fireworks and colorful posters advertising them with vivid pictures.

No later than the third of July -- sometimes earlier -- Dad would bring home what he could afford to see go up in smoke and flame. We'd count and recount the number of firecrackers, display pieces and other things and got to bed determined to be up with the sun so as to offer the first, thunderous notice of the Fourth of July.

I'm afraid we didn't give to much thought to the meaning of the day. And, yes, there were tragic accidents to mar it, resulting from carless handling of the fireworks. I'm sure we're better off today with fireworks largely handled by professionals.

Yet there was a thrill never to be forgotton is seeing a tin can blown 30 feet in the air by a gaint "cracker" -- gaint meaning it was about 4 inches long. But eough of nostalia.

Sometimes in our growing up we began to be aware of the meaning of days and with that awareness came the birth of patriotism. July Fourth is the birthday of our nation. I believe as a boy, and believe even more today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.

The is a legend about the day of our nation's birth in the little town hall in Philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the Declaration of Independance was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words "treason, the gallows, the headsman's axe," and the issue remained in doubt.

The legend says that at that point a man rose and spoke. He is described as not a young man, but one who had to summon all his energy for an impassioned plea. He cited the grievances that had brought then to this moment and finally, his voice falling, he said, "They may turn every tree into a gallows, every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die.

To the mechanic in the workshops, they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be textbook of freedom, the Bible of the rights of man forever."

He fell back exhausted. The 56 delegates, swept up by his eloquence, rushed forward and signed that document destined to be as immortal as a work of man can be. When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how he had come I or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.

Well, that is the legend. But we do know for certain that 56 men, a little and so unique we have never seen their kind since, had pledged their lives, their fortunes
and their sacred honor. Some gave their lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all preserved their sacred honor.

What matter of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were soft-spoken men of means and eduction; they were not an unwashed rabble. They had achieved security but valued freedom more. Their stories have not been told nearly enough.

John Hart was driven from the side of desperately ill wife. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. He died of exhaustion and a broken heart.

Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his debts, and died in rags. And so it was Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston and Middleton. Nelson personally urged Washington to fire on his home and to destroy it when it became the headquarters for General Cornwallis. Nelson died bankrupt.

But they sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million farm, quiet
viilages, cities that never sleep, three millon aquare miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million poeple with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world. In resent years, however, I've come to think of that day as more that just the birthday od a nation.

It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.

Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply
exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a resolution that changed the very concept of government.

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of it's own except those of voluntarily granted to it by the people.

We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should, Happy Fourth of July.

-Ronald Reagan, President of the United States (1981)

07/01/2007

 

Posted on 07/01/2007
Copyright © 2008 Jean Mollett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Note: This was in our worship folder at church. I thought everyone may enjoy it. What Does The Fourth of July Mean To You? This is a very good reminder, for us not to forget. It's not written by me, I just posted.

 

 

 


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Submitted: Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 29, 2008

About the Poet
I'm married. I am a grandmother. I love poetry, reading and writing it. Someone inspired me to start writing poetry again. That person is my Pastor.


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