1. In the summer of 1776, the Second Continental Congress was meeting in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House (later called Independence Hall). On June 7, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia stood and read his resolution: "Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
2. The die was cast and on June 11, 1776, a committee was formed with the express purpose of drafting a document that would formally sever the ties of the colonies with Great Britain. The committee included Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert R. Livingstone of New York.
3. On July 1, Congress reconvened and the following day, the Lee Resolution for Independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies. Immediately, Congress began to consider the Declaration drawn up by the committee. Then late in the afternoon of July 4, 1776 the document known as the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted as church bells rang out over Philadelphia.
4. On August 2, the Declaration of Independence, written on a sheet of parchment measuring 24 1/2 by 29 3/4 inches was signed by all the delegates in attendance, the first being John Hancock, the President of the Congress. He used a bold signature centered below the text and in accordance to the prevailing custom; the other delegates began to sign at the right below the text, their signatures arranged according to the geographical location of the states they represented. New Hampshire, the northernmost state, began the list, and Georgia, the southernmost, ended it.
5. That document, the Declaration of Independence, has become one of our nation's most cherished symbols of liberty. This coming Wednesday, July 4, we as American's celebrate "Independence Day." This year, we as a nation, celebrate 225 years of independence and freedom. As American's we have much to be thankful for and much to celebrate.
6. At the outset let me say that I am thankful and proud to be an American. I love America. I love my country. I am grateful to be an American. Let me be clear and say that I do not love everything about America. There is a lot about America that disturbs me, grieves me, and saddens me. Many of the Politicians of our country disappoint me, the "political correctness" trend and mindset of our country disgusts me, many decisions of the Supreme Court distress me and the moral decline of our country disturbs me. America has its problems and serious problems at that. Yet, in spite of all its problems, I love my country.
7. I am a very patriotic person. I still get goose bumps when they play the national anthem. I still get a lump in my throat when I see ...
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