Purpose, Commitment and Patriotism

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Patriotism is a verb.

The Declaration of Independence, as Thomas Jefferson once wrote, was intended to be “an expression of the American mind.” One familiar stanza in the Declaration expresses a collective belief that has become engrained in the core of who we are as Americans: “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." The meaning of these words was engraved in the human psyche by Abraham Lincoln in a speech he delivered on the ravaged battlefields of Gettysburg as he reminded America, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Later, Dr. Martin Luther King echoed the sentiment of our intentions as a nation in words delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."

But it was the less familiar final sentence of the Declaration and the signatures that followed that I found myself re-reading several times this morning: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

As we gather today to celebrate the birth of America with friends and family over BBQ and a firework-filled sky, it’s good to take a moment to remember those who signed their names at the end of the Declaration of Independence who understood true patriotism is not a noun—it’s a verb. I’ll spend some time today thinking about how the actions of my life can better honor those who had the courage to stand for what they believed. God Bless America.

In Gratitude to: 
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton, William Hooper, Joseph Hewson Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr.Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, John Hancock, Samuel Chase, William Acanthomas Stone Charles Carroll of Carrollton, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson. George Ross, Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark, Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, Matthew Thornton.

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Mona Amodeo