Things sure have changed in 247 years

By Don Rush

This past weekend with fireworks and much merriment, we as Americans, celebrated the declaration of our country’s independence. Not, as some are confused, our being independent from the old world’s superpower, England and its monarchy.

On July 4, 1776 we merely “announced” to the world that we thought of ourselves as free and were prepared to back up our words with action. Whenever I read the following words I am awed. They are simple, eloquent words which changed the course of the human race.

“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 . . .

“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 the 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.”

I wish I could write so eloquently. For better or worse (and I think for the better) the rest is, as they say, history.

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I am always amazed how far the world has come in those 247 years since our declaration. I am amazed when I go to the grocery store and look at all those red, ripe, tomatoes all year around. Tomatoes ship from Europe or South America “fresh.” Amazing.

Think about it… a hundred years before the Revolution, it took the Pilgrims a little over two months to sail from Plymouth, England to America and now we can ship stuff across the 2,800 miles to our local grocery store in a few hours. How can you not be amazed?

Amazing to think that folks like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, et al, could only look up to the sky and guess about what was up there. Now we can look up there every clear night and see the International Space Station we put up in the heavens wizz over us. We’ve launched vessels from earth which have flown through the rings of Saturn and sent back pictures. We are planning on landing people on the planet Mars. Wow!

Anyone can look up how to do almost anything lickity-split just by hopping online to the world wide web on computers we hold in our hands. Flying around the world in hours. Reaching into the heavens and returning to Earth. All the world’s information at your fingertips whenever you want it. Fresh fruits and vegetables grown halfway around the world. Amazing. But, do we take it for granted? Do we expect it will always be so and what are we willing to do to keep it so?

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