Finding Freedom in Purpose - The Source of Freedom
The Source of Freedom
Toward the end of the Declaration of Independence we find a summary sentence which places everything in perspective: “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.”
This is a unique creed. The signers believed something very special was happening and that God would see them through. It was a new and courageous covenant, men mutually pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor! This is breathtaking and inconceivable in the fermentation of today’s world.
Have we forgotten the high price some of our founding Fathers paid for their freedom? Have we forgotten that nine signers of the Declaration of Independence did not survive the war? Many lost their homes and fortunes.
Thomas Nelson of Virginia directed bombardment of his own mansion at Yorktown. It was occupied by Cornwallis. Nelson also undertook to raise $2 million to repay the French fleet for its assistance. The war notes he redeemed cost him his fortune. He died in poverty. This was his sacred honor.
Francis Lewis, a wealthy New York trader, lost everything he had. His wife was thrown into prison and died shortly after her release.
Richard Stockton of New Jersey, a Princeton graduate, lost his wealth, property, and magnificent library. He was imprisoned and died following the war.
These illustrations of sacred honor should suffice to remind us that the Fourth of July commemorates a costly freedom, one that documented the rhetoric of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
On April 8, 1983, before a live audience and on television, in a dramatic effort to illustrate the tragedy that would ensue should America lose her freedom, David Copperfield, the renowned magician, created the illusion that the Statue of Liberty had disappeared. Following the incredible feat, the young man spoke briefly, spontaneously. He declared that he was a son of immigrants, and that his mother pointed with pride to France’s gift of the statue to America. The unveiling was October 28, 1886. That which impressed David Copperfield’s mother was not its enormity—the statue and pedestal is 305-feet, six-inches tall and weighs two-hundred-twenty-five tons—but a portion of the poem by Emma Lazarus articulating the basic philosophy of American democracy, especially these two lines: “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Mr. Copperfield continued that America would remain free so long as people remembered to communicate, to care, and to show compassion. True freedom, he declared, “is magic.”