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Walking in the Right Direction A column by Bill Ellenberger for The Daily Herald

What a special time for family and friends. Picnics and Fireworks. This is not the biggest holiday of the summer or an indication that our limited summer is half over. Please remember that this is American Independence Day.
The words of a well known columnist wrote: “We tend to forget that to sign the Declaration of Independence was to commit an act of treason – and the punishment for treason was death. To publicly accuse George III of “repeated injuries and usurpations,” to announce that Americans were therefore “Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,” was a move fraught with danger – so much so that the names of the signers were kept secret for six months
They were risking everything, and they knew it. That is the meaning of the Declaration’s soaring last sentence:
“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.”
Most of the signers survived the war; several went on to illustrious careers.
Two of them became presidents of the United States, and among the others were future vice presidents, senators, and governors. But not all were so fortunate.
Nine of the 56 died during the Revolution, and never tasted American independence.
Five were captured by the British.
Eighteen had their homes – great estates, some of them – looted or burnt by the enemy.
Some lost everything they owned.
Two were wounded in battle.
Two others were the fathers of sons killed or captured during the war.
“Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” It was not just a rhetorical flourish.
We recognize John Hancock’s signature, but who ever notices the names beneath his? William Ellery, Thomas Nelson, Richard Stockton, Button Gwinnett, Francis Lewis – to most of us, these are names without meaning.
But each represents a real human being, some of whom paid dearly “for the support of this Declaration” and American independence.”
This Independence Day prayer offers and is designed to encourage Christian celebrations of freedom, both spiritual and physical, for the Fourth of July holiday.
“Dear Lord, There is no greater feeling of liberation than to experience this freedom from sin and death that you have provided for me through Jesus Christ. Today my heart and my soul are free to praise you. For this I am very thankful.
On this Independence Day I am reminded of all those who have sacrificed for my freedom, following the example of your Son, Jesus Christ. Let me not take my freedom, both physical and spiritual, for granted. May I always remember that my freedom was purchased with a very high price. My freedom cost others their very lives.
Lord, today, bless those who have served and continue to give their lives for my freedom. With favor and bounty meet their needs and watch over their families.
Help me to live my life in a way that glorifies you, Lord. Give me the strength to be a blessing in someone else’s life today, and grant me the opportunity to lead others into the freedom that can be found in knowing Christ. Amen” – Author Unknown
Many before us have made personal and ultimate sacrifices. Many are making them today In the future, more will step forward in the future to protect all our freedom.
As you gather with your family and friends on this Independence Day weekend, take a moment before you eat to give thanks to God for our freedom. Do not rush your prayer. Say the prayer with thanksgiving. Pray for our leaders and those who serve to keep us free from tyranny. Thank the Lord for what he has given us to help others.
Stay focused in the King and his blessings, Bill