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Some Truth About Independence Day
7/3/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Susan Lyttek

One of my favorite things about living in one of the thirteen original colonies is being exposed to lots of history about the early days of the United States of America. In fact, I’ve learned more going to historical sites with my guys over the years than I did in all of my formal education. Perhaps it stuck because it was more interesting when you had something to look at other than a teacher’s face? I don’t know for sure. I just know I’ve learned more in the hands-on and follow-up studies.

In honor of our nation’s birthday celebration, I have cobbled together some random facts about those early days for you to ponder.

  1. Declaring independence did not guarantee independence. All the signers had to work, fight, and sacrifice for many years before the declaration became a reality.
  2. Some of the signers lost most of their wealth because they signed. How much are we willing to put our name on the line for?
  3. The fighting and the trials started before these leaders signed their names to Thomas Jefferson’s document. The Boston Tea Party, for instance, and the Battle of Bunker Hill had already occurred.
  4. While colonists felt oppressed at the outset because of taxation and restrictions, the majority did not buy into the idea of a war for independence right away. Most were willing to adapt and merely complain in secret.
  5. The document was drafted and re-drafted in June, approved in July and actually signed in August.
  6. Two ancestors of Robert E. Lee signed the declaration.
  7. Nine men from Pennsylvania signed it—perhaps because the signing took place in their state? The next largest contributing state was Virginia, with seven signers.
  8. Nine of the signers never saw the fruit of their step in faith. They died before the battle of Yorktown.
  9. Two famous Virginians who advocated liberty, George Mason and Patrick Henry, were not signers of the declaration. George Mason’s work, though, formed much of its wording.
  10. During the first continental congress, they actually voted to resolve their differences with Britain. That resolution was defeated by one vote. This was fall of 1774.
  11. The second continental congress began in the spring of 1775, but because of ongoing conflicts and difficulties, it didn’t complete its mission until the summer of 1776.
  12. The congress also elected George Washington as the general of the colonial army. He actually showed up to the meeting in uniform.

Each time, each era has its battles and its trials. Rejoice this weekend that these men did not shirk theirs, but followed God and their conscience to create the land we know today.

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