4th of July

Here's something for the 4th of July 

+ Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the
Declaration of Independence? 

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and
tortured before they died. 

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. 

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had
two sons captured. 

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the
Revolutionary War. 

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their
sacred honor. 

What kind of men were they? 

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were
farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But 
they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the
penalty would be death if they were captured. 

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships
swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties
to pay his debts, and died in rags. 

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move
his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and
his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and
poverty was his reward. 

At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken
over the home of Thomas Nelson, Jr. for his headquarters. He quietly 
urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt. 

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13
children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to
waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home
to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he
died from exhaustion and a broken heart. 

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These
were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men 
of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.
Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support
of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine 
providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes,
and our sacred honor." 

You might want to take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July
holiday this year and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to
ask.considering the price they paid. Remember: freedom is never free!
And the blood of many patriots was spilled over the past 200 years. 

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