On this day in 1776, a document was published, a declaration of the undersigned to freedom from an oppressive and distant government. At the time, though, several of the men who signed this document were, in a larger sense, already free- among them William Ellery, Francis Lightfoot and Richard Henry Lee, William Paca, Benjamin Rush, Matthew Thornton, William Williams, and Oliver Woolcott. Not present among these was another man who, like them was free in a higher sense- a man who led the forces of this group against the forces of temporal tyranny, a man who would become Father of this country.
In 1863, a man named Lincoln freed the negro slaves of the South in a proclamation. In a larger sense, though many of these slaves were already free- a bond they shared with the man who made the proclamation.
On this day, today, we celebrate the Independence of our great nation. I appreciate to the depths of my being that I am a part of this nation, and heir to the freedoms that so many died to give me, that so many misguided "civil libertarians" want to strip from me. That so many hate-filled Jihadists want to kill me for having. That so many socialists/communists would love to channel into subservience to the "state"- while those who make up the "state" laugh at them for turning all power over to such as they. But in a larger sense, even though I was born into this great free nation, I was not always free.
I was a slave in invisible chains, though I could feel them. I could feel them in the guilt my sins caused in me. I could feel them in the fear over what would happen to me when I died. And I could feel them when I tried to be good enough, whatever that was, only to fail time and again.
On night on my knees, I verbally "signed" my declaration of independence, as Washington, Lincoln, et. al., had done before me. In doing so, I no longer required a general to muster forces to battle for my freedom, because the battle had been won on a hill in Judea two thousand years before. And to this day, some three decades later, I am still- and still remember- my appreciation as I felt those invisible chains slide from my arms.
So today, I celebrate what those wonderful men did two centuries ago. And in my soul, I also celebrate the thing that links me to them- what one wonderful Man did so much longer ago.