There was a time when people came together every year on the Fourth of July to hear someone read the Declaration of Independence. They stood in town squares, on village greens, in front of court houses, by general stores, in grange halls, in union halls. They were young and old, rich and poor. Some were members of families who had been here for generations. Others were recent arrivals. They were all Americans.
The men who voted for independence in 1776 did something that no one had ever done before. And they decided that, in declaring it, they would explain to the world why they were doing it. They were risking their lives when they signed the declaration, and they knew it. Benjamin Franklin said they would have to hang together or they would surely hang separately. And they pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.