For This Patriotic Month – An Essay to Read With Your Kids from Constituting America National Youth Director & “Our Constitution Rocks Author” Juliette Turner: Independence Day, Let the Bells Ring Out!
The Fourth of July
Bells cried out, cutting through the air of a still, humid night, crawling through the streets of Philadelphia. The full moon pierced through a small cloud, beaming its rays onto a solitary clock tower that stood in the middle of a maze of cobble stone streets. A white horse pounded its hooves onto the bricks below it as it passed across the road.
Light seeped through the open windows of a tall brick building, through the open windows of Independence Hall. The open paned windows served as peep holes into a congregation of men who plotted to alter the course of the world.
The opened windows lead to a room that was filled with the odorous scent of powdered wigs that clung to sweaty necks. Candle wax slowly dripped onto coarse, hand-made, dark oak tables. Dirt covered, black shoes, white-stocking legs, and bland cotton trousers led up to pondering, moist faces. A young, fiery red haired man stood in the corner of the room near the opened windows, glancing worriedly over his shoulder at a large sheet of parchment that rippled slightly due to the breeze that gusted through the room. An elderly man with a kind face, sparse strands of graying hair falling over coy eyes, sat in the middle of a group of stern-faced men.
The sudden eruption of sound as the bells marked the early hour of the morning startled the men out of their deep meditation. A middle aged Bostonian stopped his pacing abruptly and glanced out over the room of men and then turned his gaze over to a quivering quill pen that perched in a silver inkstand.
One phrase of words echoed through the deep recesses of all their minds as the final bong of the clock’s bell resonated in the room around them, the words “…we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
The Bostonian, a man by the name of John Adams, strutted over to his chair and pressed his hands on the wooden back of the chair. “Well?” Adams started as he turned his eyes over to a man beside him who was thumbing the table aimlessly. His tone of voice revealed his worn patience after a long day of trying to persuade a group of southern men to pen their autographs onto a statement of independence.
Adams’s words caused a youthful man to spring out of his chair and walked up to the large desk in the front of the room that hosted as the podium for the large piece or parchment. John Hancock arrived at the desk and looked down at the black cursive writing that covered the document. On the top of the sheet, in large bold writing, the words “Declaration of Independence” were sprawled out. Hancock brusquely lifted the quill out of the stand, dipped the tip roughly into the bottle of black ink several times, and then swiftly, and not to mention largely, autographed his name under the statement. He let his hand drop the feather back into its stand and then pivoted on his shined heel.
He walked back down the aisle, ignoring the glances that followed him, and then lowered down into his chair. The red haired man, a young patriot by the name of Thomas Jefferson, the man who penned the document himself, looked over at Hancock with a new look of confidence in his eyes. As if Hancock had stuck the match that lighted a long line of candle sticks, one by one, the men in the room stood and walked forward to sign their name on the declaration that would change the world.
As the men lined up, Adams looked over to Jefferson and nodded. Jefferson walked forward and joined the men as they one by one signed their name. Adams looked out the window, attempting to fathom the magnanimous result this document would have on the rest of the world.
Adams knew, as he penned his name under a long list of the names that belonged to a brave group of patriots, that this document gave breath into a new nation. A new nation, the United States of America, which would promise freedom to all, which would secure the rights of the individual. A new nation, the United States of America, which would produce a Constitution that would harness the powers of government. A new nation, the United States of America, which would have a system of government like none other before: of the people, by the people, for the people. A new nation, the United States of America, that would be born of the courageous acts of one group of men, one group of Patriots, who were led by Divine Providence, who wanted to be free from Tyrannical rule and preserve freedom for all ages.
It is easy to go about Independence Day, preparing for fun holiday events, hanging out with friends and family, watching spectacular fireworks shows, and not think twice about what this holiday stands for. This holiday stands for much more than the signing of a document that declared our independence. This holiday stands for much more than separating from Britain and tyrannical rule.
In the year 1776, on the fourth day of July, in a stuffy Independence Hall in the heat of Philadelphia, a group of men gathered because they knew something wasn’t right. They knew that the country they inhabited was intended to be the land of the free. They wanted to rid the tyrannical rule from over their heads and be able to breath freely the air of independence. They no longer could sit around, watching British redcoats march around their streets, terrorizing the people, and do nothing.
Each brave man who gathered in Independence Hall to compose a document, a declaration, of freedom, had a fire burning inside of them to create a country that would secure and promise freedom to all people. These patriots wanted their children to live in a free country, one without a king, tyrant, or dictator, looming over their heads.
On Independence Day, we must remember the acts of our founders, their brave acts that few men (or women) can even equal. We must remember the Divine Providential hand that guided a young America on a path of freedom. We must remember how blessed we are to live in a country where we can speak our minds without the fear of being imprisoned. We must remember how blessed we are to live in a country where We The People have power over our government through our vote.
So, as you are watching fireworks light up America’s sky tonight, remember the rockets, remember the men, that fought for your freedom, remember the men that signed a Declaration of Independence that changed the course of the whole world.
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