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Friday, July 1, 2011

In Preparation for Independence Day

Tomorrow will mark the 235th birthday of the United States. In a little over two centuries the United States has witnessed some dramatic changes, both for the good and the bad. Despite all of these changes, however, one cannot help but appreciate the wonderful heritage, freedom and prosperity that has helped to sustain America throughout the past 232 years.

Sadly, a large number of Americans have forgotten -- or never bothered to learn in the first place -- our nation's history. A recent study by NPR News sadly reveals the fact that most Americans remain woefully ignorant of this nation's heritage. In fact, roughly 40% of all Americans have NEVER ONCE read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or any of the other important founding documents of our nation's birth.

I for one find it amazing that Americans are so quick to profess their love, admiration and patriotism for this nation, yet remain ignorant of its history and heritage. In many ways, this phenomenon is similar to the professing Christian who knows little or nothing about his/her religion's doctrine. How can one profess loyalty or patriotism to a nation or cause if he/she knows nothing of its history? As Cicero stated so many years ago, "History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity...one cannot become a true citizen without first gaining an understanding of history."

As the barbecue pits begin to heat up and the fireworks are pulled out from the closet, remember that tomorrow's celebration is, in the end, a celebration of America's great heritage. If you are one of those 40% who have never read the Dec. of Independence, the Constitution, etc., then I invite you to correct that mistake, and what better day than tomorrow to do it!

With this in mind, here is a wonderful video on the Declaration of Independence, in which the document is read in its entirety. Also, here are a few links to some historical documents that EVERY AMERICAN should read.

Happy Independence Day!

And some other links:

*The Constitution of the United States click here
*Bill of Rights click here
*Articles of Confederation click here
*Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty of Give me Death" speech click here
*James Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance" click here
*Thomas Jefferson's "Notes on the State of Virginia" click here

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