Battles? Weddings? Which Event? by J Vincent

After ruminating a week over which historical event I would want to see I finally found one.  Why so long?  It turns out I have a rather bloodthirsty sort of mind.  My first thoughts went to battles--Talavera, Salamanca, Waterloo to name a few.  Then I turned to things like Cromwell taking over England--with the beheading of Charles I.  Or the fall of the Bastille and the Terror in France in 1789 with knitters using the guillotine loping of heads to count stitches.  I decided I had to look at happier or at least less bloody events.  I passed on weddings; the signing of peace treaties came next but held little appeal.  “Grand ceremonies?” I wondered.  “The cardinal enclave electing a pope?  The coronation of Napoleon--by himself?” I was at a loss.
 And then it came to me.  The event I WANTED to see.  If only I was the star of the old series Quantum Leap and could “leap” into the middle of the meetings of the Continental Congress in 1776.  But it isn’t the adopting of the Declaration of Independence, which we celebrate on July 4th every year, I’d like to see.  No, I’d like to see the signing of it which took place on August 2, 1776.

On that day fifty-six intrepid souls took quill in hand, dipped it in ink and put their “John Hancock” to the Declaration.  It was a treasonous act punishable by death.  In fact, at that time John Hancock already had a reward of 500 British pounds offered for his capture.  Benjamin Franklin was the only old man among the signers, most were under forty.  All were rather well to do which meant they had a lot to loss rather than gain by declaring their independence from George III.  Some of them lost their lives during the Revolutionary War.  Most lost their homes and members of their families.  They realized the danger ahead.  They knew the British fleet full of soldiers was in New York Harbor and yet they signed below this last sentence of the Declaration:  “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Lives.  Fortune.  Honor.  Not a play on words.  Not a prosy promise to be ignored if inconvenient.  A mutual pledge that was honored to the fullest by each and every one no matter the cost, dreadful though it was for some of them. This is who I want to believe I can be.  This is who I write my heroes and heroines to be.  Free.  Independent, but relying on each other.  Honor above all.  These men made it possible for us to be all of these things today.  I do wish I could see them, study their faces, hear their words on the day they committed all they had with no idea whether their fledgling nation would survive or not, let alone what it would become as the years passed.  If you are curious, or want to give a brief “thank you” by reading their names go to


Becky A said...

Thank you, Joan! Your blog brought that important signing to life for me. So many people today do not understand the sacrifices that have been made to have this wonderful country we live in. They take for granted the freedom and prosperity we have enjoyed. Maybe that's why they are being whittled away on every front. Someone is waiting for someone else to stand up and fight. I have to wonder what our founding fathers would think of the USA today.