Sunday July 5th ,2020 regarding our Independence
Let’s not take the 4th of July for granted. Here are some facts you may not have known.
Why we celebrate the day with sparklers: Because John Adams wanted us to do so. He insisted that fireworks be part of America’s independence celebration before the Declaration was signed. He wrote to his wife July3,1776, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” The rest is history.
Betsy Ross: Did you know she did not receive credit for sewing the first American flag until almost 40 years after her death?!
History of the 21-gun salute. This gesture originated in the 14th century. When naval ships came into port, they discharged their cannons to prove they were defenseless and therefore no harm would be intended. From the shore the responding fire was three shots for each shot from the ship equaling 21.
In the US the custom was to fire a shot for each state, starting with 17 in 1810. Later we joined with other nations and adopted the 21-gun salute. This is reserved for past presidents, presidents elect, heads of state and reigning royalty.
Exception: At noon on the Fourth of July 50 shots are fired- one for each state – in honor of the Declaration of Independence.
Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Do you know who they were? There were 56 men who signed that precious document.
Five (5) signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died.
Twelve (12) had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two (2) lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army.
Two (2) had sons captured.
Nine (9) fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four (24) were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven (11) were merchants. (I found 16 listed.)
Nine (9) were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means. Well-educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Four (4) were considered scientists-ie. They were thinkers. They invented and adopted revolutionary ideas about scientific rationality, religious toleration and experimental political organization. Their ideas were far reaching in the formation of the United States of America.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKean of Delaware was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Button Gwinnett, GA; Thomas Hayward Jr., SC; Edward Rutledge, SC and Arthur Middleton, SC– Their properties were vandalized and looted by soldiers.
Thomas Nelson, JR. of Virginia -At the battle of Yorktown the British General Cornwallis took over Nelson’s home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly urged George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis of New York had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart of New Jersey was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife had died and his children vanished.
Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we should not. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your Fourth of July and silently thank these patriots. It is not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: Freedom is never free.
When we think about it, how much do we sacrifice to be free to worship in the manner we wish, or to vote our conscience. Thumbs up for what these gentlemen sacrificed for us.
Folks, this is our last on-line presentation. The Portland Spiritualist Church will be opening back up for services on July 12th. Watch the Website and Facebook for more in this regard. Love, Rev. Beth Carter and Mike Carter