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Declaration signers

236 remarkable years

Button Gwinnett
Benjamin Franklin
John Hancock
Thomas Jefferson

If you’re not quite feeling the holiday spirit today, you’re not alone.

Chances are good that you’ve just had to cope without electricity for an extended period. Your power might still be out.

Moreover, Wednesday isn’t exactly the best day of the week for a holiday to fall. On a Tuesday or Thursday, you might be able to squeak out an extra day off for a four-day weekend. But you probably have to go to work Thursday.

And if you equate July Fourth with fireworks, the severe drought hasn’t helped your spirits. Bans on personal fireworks and cancellation of several public fireworks displays must be a sure sign that the Grinch has expanded his holiday-stealing ways to include the 236th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Fortunately, despite recent setbacks, despite political stalemate, despite the banning of bottle rockets in Allen County and other areas, these words still resonate:

“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.”

Honest people will debate how well our government is securing these rights and whether the government is exceeding the power the people grant.

But Americans remain fortunate to live in a nation with so many freedoms, one that values life and liberty, where debate and criticism of government is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.

All of this nation’s freedoms can be traced to that document from 1776, when the colonies rebuked the authority of the English crown, demanding self-government and independence. Though much has changed in the last 236 years, the nation’s ideals, its goals, its reason for being are contained in that declaration.

And that is worth celebrating, no matter how bad your week has been.

Happy Independence Day!