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Just Outside My Door

July 5, 2011
By Elaine G. Cole, Correspondent

Summer is bluer skies

and warmer rains;

It’s roses in gardens

and fields of grain;

It’s work in the morning

and rest at noon;

It’s the magic of stars

and a white icing moon.

Summer is the black of

of a dark country night;

It’s the flame and the mystery

of a fire-fly light;

It’s the scent of a lawn

that’s been freshly mowed;

It’s the growth of a garden

So recently sowed

Summer is green mountains

peaking blue sky;

It’s the elegant grace

Of each butterfly;

It’s the Maiden of Spring,

The Matron of fall;

It’s to many who love it

The best season of all!

Joyce Nelson’s poem gives us a good description of summer. It doesn’t feel like it today for its gloomy, windy and much cooler than we’ve had recently. However, it won’t last long if weather forecasts are accurate. Meanwhile, I welcome it because I’m not tempted to go outside today. That’s good because I’ll get some inside tasks done.

First on my agenda is my copy and thus far I’ve been having a problem. For some reason I fell asleep sitting at my computer. Do you suppose it was because I didn’t go to bed until after midnight last night and got up at six o’clock this morning? Nevertheless, I’m wide awake now and I want to tell you a bit about the Fourth of July which we celebrate next Monday, some of which you probably never read unless you have a copy of William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb’s book, “The American Patriot’s Almanac.”

Probably most everyone knows why we celebrate July 4, but it’s good to refresh our memories of it because its one of the most important National holidays of Americans. It began on July 4, 1776 when delegates to the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence.

After several meetings and much discussion about a declamation to declare the right of freedom, the Congress appointed five members of the Continental Congress to serve as a committee to draft the proposed declaration. Thomas Jefferson was the chairman. His associates were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston. The first celebration of it was held July 2,1777. Although it was celebrated over the years on various dates and later it was declared a national holiday.

“The American Patriot’s Almanac” relates some interesting facts about the men who issued the Declaration of Independence. It seems they knew if they signed it, the British could considered them traitors and they would loose their lives. Many suffered hardship during the Revolutionary War. The following are examples of the hardships some people endured.

William Floyd of New York saw the British use his home for barracks and his family fled to Connecticut, where they lived as refugees. When the war was over and Floyd and the family returned to their home, they found their house damaged and their field ruined.

Richard Stockton of New Jersey was another example of suffering. He was dragged from his bed, thrown into prison and treated like a common criminal. He also had his home looted and his fortune badly damaged. He was released in 1777, but his health was broken and he died a year later.

Hessian solders hunted everywhere for John Hart, who was another signer of the Declaration. In December 1776, he hid in the woods so they wouldn’t find him. He died before the end of the war. The Jersey Gazette stated he continued to do the duties of a faithful patriot in the service of his country until his last illness when he was caught by the Hessians.

Still another incident which took place in that yesteryear war was that Thomas Nelson, a Virginian, commanded militia and served as governor during the Revolution. He reportedly instructed artillerymen to fire at his own house in Yorktown when he heard the British were using it as a headquarters. Nelson used his personal credit to raise money for the Patriot cause. His sacrifices left him in financial distress, and he was unable to repair his Yorkton home.

Three signers from South Carolina, Thomas Heyward, Arthur Middleton and Edward Rutledge, were in their state’s militia. They were taken captive by the British when they apprehended Charleston during the war. As a consequence, they were in a St. Augustine prison for a year. When they were released, they discovered their estates were ransacked.

All of the above incidents and more were the price our ancestors paid so that we today can celebrate the Fourth of July. The least we can do is be thankful for the sacrifices our forefathers made to obtain our freedoms and to honor and pay tribute to them. And lastly, we must determine to do everything we can to preserve that freedom and justice for all and thank God for the heritage we have.

Article Photos

Photo by Elaine G. Cole

We are proud to be Americans and to have freedom to be able to have “Old Glory” flying high above my perennial garden in our front yard, every day and especially on the Fourth of July. We thank and honor our forefathers for working diligently to make our country, “one nation under God with life and liberty for all.”



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