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Happy 238th birthday, America

History-Don-White-logoWell another Independence Day has come and gone.
For many working people it was a chance to enjoy a three day week-end. It was a time for parades, picnics, and barbecues, a day at the beach or just doing projects around the homestead. Then there were the fireworks -- legal and illegal -- in many of the surrounding southern suburbs. I hope it was a safe and enjoyable holiday for all citizens of our great nation.
Of course there are many jobs that are 24/7 and have to be staffed on holidays. Thanks to the firemen, policemen, doctors, nurses, restaurant staffs, bus drivers and so many other folks that have to work on holidays. Thanks for your dedication to duty to move it on down the line – whatever your job might be.
How did you celebrate the 238th birth of our nation? Did you fly the flag? Did you visit a relative
or a friend in a nursing home? Were you somewhere where they sang the National Anthem? No matter what you did on this special day, I hope you gave thanks for those fifty-five men that risked everything they held dear to bring forth this great nation.
Yes, we the people had declared their independence from the British on July 4, 1776, but they had not yet won that independence. On July 2, the Continental Congress first voted its approval of the Declaration. Then on July 4, another vote reaffirmed this action. It was not until sometime in August, 1776, that all 55 signatures were written in.
Just how sure of what they were doing were these men? The final sentence of the Declaration says it quite well: β€œAnd 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.”
As the Declaration was being voted on in Philadelphia, British troops were landing on Staten
Island in New York. The Revolutionary War finally ended with the surrender of British troops at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781.
The British government offered generous terms of surrender. A treaty was drafted in November, 1782, but not signed until September, 1783. New York was not surrendered until November, 1783. With the signing of the treaty, the British gave up more land than what the thirteen colonies entailed.
Thanks to those men and women of the Revolution that gave so much for the freedom that we still cherish 238 years after.

β€” Don C. White is a historian and author from Palos Hills.