Happy Birthday, USA!

The Veterans of Foreign Wars celebrates Independence Day

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – “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.” – The Declaration of Independence, 1776

Fireworks over Capitol HillIt was an enormous gamble for the 56 men to take. Signing their name to such a document was treason in the eyes of British Empire and would surely end in certain death if captured. Yet, the members of the Second Continental Congress who met in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, and penned their signatures to the Declaration of Independence, were willing to risk everything to form their own government and to secure the rights of the people who made up the original 13 United States of America. Along with those who the year prior stood up to British forces at Lexington and Concord, and formed the Continental Army, Navy, and Marines, the founders willingly sacrificed everything for their vision of a new nation. This moment in history changed America, the British empire, and the world forever, and it is why we celebrate this weekend.

The birth of the United States was not an easy one and was by no means delivered simply with the stroke of a pen. The American War of Independence would continue on for another seven years, costing 25,000 colonists their lives, laid down in the hope of freedom. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence lost all they had – their homes, their families, and their livelihood. Some would die from their wounds suffered in war. Others would die in poverty. America learned quickly that freedom does not come free as the sacrifice for those who fought for the cause of liberty was great. However, their sacrifice was not in vain as today we enjoy the fruits of the seeds they sewed so long ago.

So this weekend, we are not only celebrating the beginning of these United States and our independence, we also celebrate the courage, bravery and boldness that continues more than 245 years later with today’s men and women of the armed forces. We owe a forever debt of gratitude to all American patriots of the past and present who have defended our freedom and given us hope, not only for our own futures, but for all future generations.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars thanks all of our men and women of the military; your fight has and will continue to lead others to a better way of life. You have truly given us all reason to celebrate our past, our present, our future – our independence.

Happy birthday, USA!