Yesterday, Nathan and I decided to do our favorite activity--wander around New York. After doing something we NEVER do (go to Times Square) we went to the New York Public Library because it looked like the skies were going to open up and we were going to get soaked.
We meant to duck into the library to just wander some more, but all of the sections were closed expect for one room. We thought that was odd, but we followed the trail of people into the room. Well, what do you think we saw? New York's copy of the Declaration of Independence.
A few years ago, a copy came to our college, and, admittedly, that copy had a better story surrounding it that involved a locked cellar and a wayward antiques dealer, but this was still very cool.
We stood huddled together to read those words again--words that I have read a hundred times as a history major--both in American and British history classes. Words that instantly spring tears to my eyes--"When in the course of human events..."***
To be fair, I do agree with historical scholars who write that our "revolution" did not fit the strict definition and when you know what each separate clause refers to (for instance, "He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures" refers to Congress meeting on the Cambridge-side of the Charles versus the Boston-side, which, even in 1776, is not THAT big of a deal in and of itself), but the specificity of those clauses is not the point of the declaration.
The point is that these brave men and women undertook a glorious experiment that is still going strong today and laid the foundation for putting such principles as "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" into law.
So take some time today to read the full text of the Declaration. It won't take more than 10 minutes, I promise.
***The words of the Declaration and the Constitution have made both of us cry since we were overseas for an extended amount of time. At the end of one very long, very tiring day, Nathan started to read aloud the quotes included on the pages of our passports and we both got a little choked up. One of the greatest things living in Bulgaria taught me was to be proud of America. Everyone in Bulgaria is so proud to be Bulgarian--they taught us.