Posts Tagged ‘4th of July’
The 4th of July is known for parades, rodeos, barbeques, sparklers and fireworks… in other words, a celebration. And it should be.
But think about the atmosphere in what became known as Independence Hall on that fateful day in 1776. This was a solemn assembly of great, established and successful men who were engaging in radical activity – revolting from an oppressive government and risking their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in the process.
I have wondered if any of those men, as they lined up to sign what very well could be their own death warrant, hesitated or had second thoughts. I’d like to think that I would have been at the front of the line, but I have never been in any situation that is remotely similar, so who knows?
The one thing I do know is that I am eternally grateful for the courage and resolve of those great men, our Founding Fathers.
They weren’t perfect. Far from it. But they were the right men at the right time, fulfilling what I truly believe was implementing God’s will to establish a nation of freedom.
This is why we believe in American Exceptionalism. What other possible explanation is there for such a collection of great men in the right place (the colonies) at the right time (the 1770’s). I don’t think there is a time since then that we could replicate that collection of men.
They were creating a nation that would live up to John Winthrop’s vision of the “city on the hill” which would serve as an example of freedom to the rest of the world.
The best explanation of this vision comes from Ronald Reagan’s final address from the Oval Office on January 11, 1989:
The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the “shining city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.
Yes, this nation is the shining city on the hill and it is worthy of great celebration.
On this Independence Day, pause and offer a prayer of thanks to God for putting 56 men in a hot and stuffy room in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776 who, with quiet courage, made it all possible.