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I have a love/hate relationship w/Independence Day.

I love it b/c it commemorates the birth of the greatest nation the world has ever seen, a nation whose standard of liberty has stood an ensign of freedom for more than 200 years.

I hate it b/c I can never manage to get through a single patriotic hymn w/o choking up (and I always end up w/a splitting headache to boot) — I haven’t sung our national anthem, or “America the Beautiful,” or “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” or any other hymn in praise and celebration of my country, for literally years. I just stand there (or sit, if we’re in church), tears streaming down my face, heart full of awe and gratitude for the immense sacrifices that so many people made for the benefit of me and my children and my children’s children.

to say that the 4th of July has a special place in my heart w/b an understatement — it’s right up there w/Christmas and Easter in my book. events that have changed the course of human history forever.

there are so many eloquent words that have been spoken about liberty in general and America in particular, so many worthy statesmen to quote throughout the ages, but ultimately, the Declaration of Independence is one of the most brilliant and I believe divinely inspired documents ever to have been penned by mankind:

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.

you can read this brilliant text in its entirety here — I can think of no better way to honour the memory of those brave men who not only pledged but eventually did in fact give their Lives, their Fortunes, and their Sacred Honor to secure real liberty for America.

I wish y’all a very happy (and safe!) Fourth of July ❤