“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.”
From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
It’s hard to imagine the culture and mindset of the colonies in 1776. Or the discussions and debate that preceded the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The “self-evident” seems obvious now—although we’re still striving as a nation to fully understand and live up to these truths.
Nonetheless, I’m grateful to have been born in the United States and to enjoy the rights that have emanated from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and 234 years of history.
Today I pause for a few minutes to give thanks to all those who have made this life of freedom possible, from the statesmen who fashioned those early documents to the women and men who serve us with the goal of preserving—in some cases establishing—a just society.
May we, as a nation, not take this hard-won gift for granted.