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Our View: What does our Declaration of Independence mean today?

Published: June 29, 2014 12:00 AM

"Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government."

So states our nation's birth certificate prior to enumerating the 27 "intolerable" abuses and crimes committed by Britain's King George III.

Throughout history, Thomas Jefferson writes in the Declaration of Independence, mankind normally would continue to suffer evils rather than "right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

The 56 signatories of this seminal document, representing 2.5 million American colonists, chose revolution over tyranny. In doing so, they gave birth to a nation, forging a future for themselves, by themselves.

On this 238th birthday of the United States of America, what does the Declaration of Independence mean today?

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Are we mindful still of the foresight demonstrated by the founding fathers? Or is the Declaration now an archaic document to be visited in the National Archives, without modern implication, and the holiday just a time for barbecues and fireworks?

Like the parchment of the Declaration itself, our civil liberties can begin to fade. Daily we debate infringements on our freedoms or due process, and we argue whether our government -- derived from the will of the people -- is working correctly.

But we do so by ourselves, and for ourselves, guided by living, breathing documents like the Declaration of Independence and the timeless principles established by our founding fathers.

We continue to invent a nation.

However you choose to celebrate, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day, the quintessential American holiday.


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