July 4, 1776 – The Continental Congress approved the verbiage of the Declaration of Independence, a critical step in the independence and autonomy of a fledgling country. We typically refer to the 4th of July as our nation’s Independence Day, but on that day in 1776, our country was anything but free. It would be six long years of blood shed and toil before the Revolutionary War was ended. Many Americans died for a country that wasn’t fully in existence! Why did they sacrifice their very lives if they didn’t even have the surety that The United States of America was going to be a viable geo-political entity? They did it because they believed so deeply in the concept of freedom that they wouldn’t have it any other way. Do we hold that same depth of belief today?
It wasn’t until April 30, 1789 that our first president was sworn in to office. After dealing with the hardships of war for nearly eight full years (the Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 to 1783) the country finally had an official leader. I found it interesting that on the day of his inauguration, George Washington chose to place his hand on an open page of the Bible as he took the oath of office. Throughout his life, Washington desperately sought wisdom and guidance from above by reading scriptures. His trust and faith in God was evident in all he did.
This article is not about believing in God or the Bible, however the beliefs George Washington held were critical in shaping our country’s future. The Bible provided Washington with a moral compass. It helped our first President understand the worth of the human soul. It taught him to fight tenaciously for good and right, and it taught him to be humble enough to avoid corruption by power.
On this 4th of July, I invite my fellow Americans to ponder this question: what has become of our moral compass? Do we share a common moral code?
I don’t intend to answer these questions, for the answers are not mine to give. What I can tell you is that our forefathers fought – and died – because they held a strong conviction of what was right and what was wrong. They didn’t live in grey areas.
Just because something makes us individually happy doesn’t make it right. Our unity and resolve are being tested daily and we need to hold to a moral compass in order to navigate through the storm that rages around us. Whether or not you believe in God – and regardless of your religious preference if you do – we need to believe we are all a part of something much bigger than ourselves.
There are men and women today who are willing to give their lives for you to live according to your conscience. God bless those who protect this country, whether on the inside or out. And for the rest of us, let us find the moral compass that guided our nation to greatness, for it can and will continue to do so for centuries to come.
Happy Fourth of July!