Today we gathered at a friend’s house to celebrate America’s birthday. After eating wonderful food, enjoying insightful conversation, and mucking up rain water, we reflected on the Declaration of Independence written, so many years ago, on July 4, 1776. As my son read the opening words of the founding document, I felt a strange euphoric pride. My nine year old read clearly,
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
The feelings swelling in my heart were not because he read every word, or because he could interpret the s’s that look like f’s. I had a glimpse of the future. This young man is being taught the history of his country. He might not understand every word of this precious covenant, but he knows that his rights are given to him by God. My growing boy has an idea of the price paid for liberty. He realizes that it is his responsibility to protect freedom first in his own conscience. This gives me hope. Hope that future generations will live in peace.
God of peace! whose spirit fills
All the echoes of our hills,
All the murmur of our rills,
Now the storm is o’er,
O let freedom be our sons,
And let future Washingtons
Rise, to lead their valiant ones
Till there’s war no more! (from The Fourth of July by John Pierpoint)