If you would permit me, may I quote?
“…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.”
Those words were not rhetoric for a speech for the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Of those 56 men who signed it, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died; twelve had their homes sacked, looted, and occupied by the enemy.
For example, Thomas Nelson Jr. at the Battle of Yorktown had his home taken over by the British General Cornwallis. Nelson quietly urged General Washington to open fire on the home anyway. It was destroyed. Nelson died a pauper.
Nine of the signers died in that war, and two lost their sons to it.
Carter Braxton, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas. He died in rags.
Thomas KcKeen was forced to move his family five times in five months to hide from his enemies. While his family hid from the British in abject poverty, McKeen served in Congress without pay – oh, for men like that today!
Francis Lewis’ home and possessions were seized, and his wife imprisoned where she died a short time later.
And perhaps the most touching story of all is of the signer John Hart, who was driven from his wife’s bedside as she lay dying. Their thirteen children had to flee for their lives as well. For over a year Hart lived in caves and in the forest. After the surrender, he returned to find his wife dead, his children gone – thirteen children, and every one of them vanished! John Hart died a few weeks later of a broken heart.” (Lund, The Freedom Factor, Deseret Book, 1987, p. 101)
And there were more – more stories of sacrifice and pain than I have time to tell.
I believe, my dear friends, that if the opportunity was given to us to face each of them and ask them if the price they paid was worth it, I believe there would be a unanimous and a resounding “Yes.”
It has been said that the single most important word in the English language is “Remember.” Oh, may God grant that every citizen in America will never forget the price that has been paid for our freedom.
From the notes and research of Glenn Rawson – July 1998