Jenny Lynn Keller
The Cost of Independence
On July 4, 1776, fifty-six men courageously signed a document containing the following statements.
“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 . . . 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 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; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown . . . And 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.”
Their pledge of life, fortune, and honor in exchange for independence cost them dearly over the next seven years of the revolutionary war. Five were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Five were jailed for an extended time, including one signer’s wife who died as a result. Nine fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war, two lost their sons, and another had two sons captured. How fortunate we are to benefit from their sacrifices 245 years later.
Happy Independence Day!