The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, is the day we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The courageous men who signed the Declaration knew a long war was ahead, and they would be caught and killed if the inexperienced and poorly equipped troops of the colonies could not conquer the powerful fighting forces of the mighty British Empire.
Still, laying aside their fears and desires for comfort, they risked all to establish a nation of liberty -- for themselves and for us.
Here are some thoughts they expressed at that momentous time...
"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." ~The Declaration of Independence
"This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion." ~Thomas Jefferson
"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means." ~John Adams
"While General Howe with a Large Armament is advancing towards New York, our Congress resolved to Declare the United Colonies free and Independent States. A Declaration for this Purpose, I expect, will this day pass Congress...It is gone so far that we must now be a free independent State, or a Conquered Country." ~Abraham Clark
"We have proclaimed to the world our determination to die freemen, rather than to live slaves." ~Samuel Adams
"Where liberty dwells, there is my country." ~Benjamin Franklin
"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." ~Daniel Webster
"What do we mean by the American Revolution? The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people....This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution." ~John Adams
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." ~Thomas Paine
"Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.” ~Joseph Warren
“Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" ~Patrick Henry
"The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty - that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men." ~George Washington
"Posterity who are to reap the blessings will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and sufferings of their ancestors.” ~Abigail Adams
“I am apt to believe that [Independence Day] will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more." ~John Adams