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Our Sacred Honor...

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  • Our Sacred Honor...

    Well, this is the weekend that Americans celebrate their independence from Britain. I dislike the fact that I so often overlook the reasons for holidays and that I tend to think of them as just another day that I don't have to go to work... So this is my effort to help all of us remember exactly what Independence Day is all about.

    In the interest of brevity, I've included links, but I urge you to read the pages that I'm linking to. This holiday isn't just another day off... This is when we remember an important date in history. A day of patriots. A day way back in 1776 when 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. A day that proud men stood up to tyranny and decided that they would govern themselves.

    First the document that started it all when it was adopted by our Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776 (and a readable transcript)

    On July 9 the action of Congress was officially approved by the New York Convention. All 13 colonies had now signified their approval. On July 19, therefore, Congress was able to order that the Declaration be "fairly engrossed on parchment, with the title and stile [sic] of 'The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America,' and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress."

    Engrossing is the process of preparing an official document in a large, clear hand. Timothy Matlack was probably the engrosser of the Declaration. He was a Pennsylvanian who had assisted the Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson, in his duties for over a year and who had written out George Washington's commission as commanding general of the ContinentalArmy. Matlack set to work with pen, ink, parchment, and practiced hand, and finally, on August 2, the journal of the Continental Congress records that "The declaration of independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed." One of the most widely held misconceptions about the Declaration is that it was signed on July 4, 1776, by all the delegates in attendance.

    John Hancock, the President of the Congress, was the first to sign the sheet of parchment measuring 24 by 29 inches. He used a bold signature centered below the text. In accordance with prevailing custom, the other delegates began to sign at the right below the text, their signatures arranged according to the geographic location of the states they represented. New Hampshire, the northernmost state, began the list, and Georgia, the southernmost, ended it. Eventually 56 delegates signed, although all were not present on August 2. Among the later signers were Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean, and Matthew Thornton, who found that he had no room to sign with the other New Hampshire delegates. A few delegates who voted for adoption of the Declaration on July 4 were never to sign in spite of the July 19 order of Congress that the engrossed document "be signed by every member of Congress." Nonsigners included John Dickinson, who clung to the idea of reconciliation with Britain, and Robert R. Livingston, one of the Committee of Five, who thought the Declaration was premature.

    Our Sacred Honor Let's not forget their sacrifices...

    And finally, some fireworks!
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    TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:



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