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Posts Tagged ‘Independence Day’

Forget booming and blasting, this has been a “beeping” 4th of July at my house. For the first time in many years, I had nothing planned for the holiday. My grandsons left yesterday and that was as far as my horizon went, so today would be relaxing and catching up. That was the best laid plan. You know what they say about those.

My son-in-law came a couple of days ago to troubleshoot the hot water heater timer. While there he kindly installed my new smoke detector over the garage door, next to the heater. Fast forward to today as I go back and forth to the washing machine. A faint beep beep beep sounds the whole time I am in the garage. The timer was stuck again and I could hear it beeping. But I also heard it near the washer and car (but not inside the closed car), and near the tool shelves. That’s it. I must have turned on one of the battery powered drill bits when my son was looking for one to hang my tiebacks a week ago. One of them was telling me it needed a charge.

Meantime my daughter calls back. Test the new smoke detector she suggested. That wasn’t a brand new battery either. Caramba! That had to be it. But. no. Her husband assured us there was nothing in the heater timer that could possibly beep. I checked outside by the AC, then opened the garage door. Maybe it came from the neighborhood. No again.

We are a couple of hours into this problem when my daughter calls back. “Could it be the old smoke detector you threw away?”

“Not a chance. I threw that in the kitchen trash –-

—which I threw in the garbage can in the garage. I’ll be right back.”

YES! I opened the lid and one of the plastic bags was beeping strongly. Do I feel like a fool? Well, yes, again. In an hour or so I will take the can to the street for tomorrow’s pickup, so won’t have to hear it anymore. Will the garage men think there is a bomb in my trash? I hope it burns itself out by then. Maybe I should put a note on the can.

Next 4th I’m going where fireworks and their cacophony light up the sky. It has to be better than this “beeping” 4th.

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I hope  you will read, as I did, on past the familiar beginning words. They may speak to you, too. You may recognize some similarities with today. At the very least, you cannot help but feel the courage of those who put these words to paper.

Happy Independence Day!

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — 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. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — 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.

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flag2.gifSome think there are no coincidences, that all events are part of a plan, lessons to be learned. A trip my husband and I once took was peppered with coincidences. We had left a day early for a convention; he because he is so punctual, and me, because I was secretly plotting to get bumped and snag two free round-trip tickets. As we waited for a connecting flight in the standing-room-only gate at Reagan International in Washington, D.C., the desk clerk asked for volunteers to be bumped. I had earlier edged us toward the desk and we were first to accept the offer.

Within an hour we boarded — not a plane — but decrepit taxi, unbelievably hot, noisy and dirty. I questioned my brilliant plan, but only for a moment because suddenly we became distracted by the scene whizzing by the windows. The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial — the Capitol appeared — stirring and startling in real life.

Arriving in Baltimore Harbor, we discovered that Fort McHenry was only a water-taxi ride from the convention hotel. As we gazed on the tattered, aged flag that inspired Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner,” scenes from a dirty cab window rushed back. My mercenary plan had become so much more. It was a real history lesson that left us feeling very patriotic.

And when did these coincidental brushes with history take place? On the most meaningful 4th of July of our lives.

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