Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Fourth!

All right, so it's a day late. I was gone for the weekend, but, given my clear obsession with the American Revolution, had to put up an acknowledgement of the holiday! While watching fireworks last night, I was struck by the fact that, in the eighteenth century, fireworks were a traditional way of celebrating the King's birthday. And how fitting that, two hundred and change years later, we celebrate our nation's birthday with the same fiery displays.

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 to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

Feeling sentimental, I pulled up a copy of the Declaration to read it last night. Some powerful words...and, as a lover of words and a would-be writer, was struck by the fact that, rather than choosing the date of our victory at Yorktown or the signing of the Treaty of Paris for our birthday, we chose a day that's marked, simply, by words. Our break with England wasn't begun on a battlefield, but by a pen.

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.

So--affirmation in the power of words, and a swell of pride in my country, in one fell swoop. We certainly have our issues and problems as a country, but what family doesn't? Lay those squabbles aside for a day and think on the outrageous beliefs that the signers of the Declaration had--and how we can still work together, people and government, toward their fulfillment. And if working together isn't working....Revolution is just a pen stroke away :)

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.

(Though I confess I prefer the option of holding others Friends in Peacetime than I do making Enemies in War.)


Carrie C said...

A lovely post, Rowenna. Thanks! And Happy Independence Day to you too! (By the way, you *are* a writer, not a would-be writer. :) )

Jill Domschot aka Arabella said...

That's almost frightening, because revolution may not be what we want or hope for. Yes, the pen yields power, for sure.

Rowenna said...

Thanks, Carrie, for your comment and encouragement :)

Arabella--so true. I think we often don't think of the power of words until it's too late--what's the old adage? Think 'ere you speak, for words once uttered have flown, and are no longer your own.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't be the same if YOU hadn't posted. A day late or not. :-)

*and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends*

That's my favorite line from the declaration.

I love your thoughts upon the date chosen. So poetic, to mark it with our spirit, and our words.


The Victorian Heroine