Editorial: Celebrating red, white and blue

Jul. 03, 2014 @ 11:00 PM

Have a memory from June 11?

How about one from back in March?

We offer these as part of the familiarity associated with today’s celebration of America’s birthday. Happy 238th!

March resonates in the American Revolution for North Carolinians. Our revolutionary convention was the first to vote for independence. We were joined by six others within two months, and in mid-June the Continental Congress recessed but not before sending out a five-man committee to write a formal justification for the break from Britain.

Just a year earlier, thinking of a complete separation was considered radical.

But King George III pressed on us, and we’ve waved the red, white and blue ever since.

Though it wasn’t widely known until the 1790s, Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson did most of the writing. Jefferson asked Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin and Massachusetts’ John Adams, independent of the other, to review and correct.

For the record, Connecticut’s Roger Sherman and New York’s Robert Livingston were also on the committee.

Jefferson was eloquent. But the understanding and foresight all of our Founding Fathers had in creating what would be known as the Declaration of Independence is incredible. Now, 238 years later and in tandem with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we have three of the greatest documents ever produced that guide and direct government.

In coming to fruition, Jefferson’s preamble was never touched: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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.”

No matter how far-reaching into our lives government may try to go, its power is to be checked by us. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — it didn’t just sound good, it meant something for which we were and still are willing to lay down lives.

At Memorial Day and Veterans Day, we recall those who honored us, and we salute the brave men and women who have defended our nation. Today, we celebrate the beginnings of our independence.

Happy Fourth of July!