"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . . That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness . . . governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security . . . We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states . . . And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."
These words were penned by Thomas Jefferson and then signed on July 4, 1776 (234 years ago) by 56 delegates to the Continental Congress. These men truly risked their lives and fortunes by signing this document, as they were committing treason against King George III. I am forever grateful for their courage and dedication to God, freedom, and their people--both of the Founding Fathers and of those who have served America in the years to come. As much as I love England, and long to be back there, I will always, first and foremost, be an American. I am so glad that 234 years ago, those 13 colonies broke away from England, no matter how green and pleasant that land is, to become their own nation--a nation of freedom and equality, where the church could be restored, and where people could work and strive to be happy.
I realized last night while watching the fireworks from Stadium of Fire that this very well could be the last 4th of July I spend in the states for a few years. In a few months I will be getting my mission call, which very well could be to somewhere across the globe. I will love wherever I go, but when faced with the thought of spending a year and a half outside of my homeland (no matter how much I want to share the gospel and serve the Lord and love to travel and be abroad) I was filled with so much gratitude and love for my nation. My heart will always beat "U-S-A! U-S-A!" My voice will always sing refrains of our national anthem, God Bless America, and Battle Hymn of the Republic. No matter what my country does, who is running it, or where else I am in the world, the United States of America is, and always will be, my home. I'm proud to be an American; may God bless this nation.
Happy Independence Day!