By Cecily Markland
It's great to be back among the ANWA bloggers! I've just returned from a 1600-mile road trip with my youngest daughter and fully intended to make that the topic of my first returning blog. However, while that is very much on my mind, and while that trip has given me much fodder for writing in the future...and for life in general...it's hard to ignore the calendar and the celebration of one of the most important pieces of writing in history!
As I traveled through Arizona, Nevada and Utah, making several stops along the way, it was impossible not to rejoice in the beauties of nature that this land has been blessed with and in the opportunities we have to entertain one another, to worship as we please, and to recreate in some of the most fun and relaxing ways imaginable. Even with an economy that has forced families to cut back, to move in with other extended family members and to make difficult choices about what they can do without, we are blessed far beyond the many who are in abject poverty and slavery in this world.
So much of what we have is tied directly to the document that was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed on this day in 1776. These writers, we now refer to as our "Founding Fathers," had spent many hours in collaboration and discussion before Thomas Jefferson penned the words to the Declaration of Independence, to which they affixed their signatures. This piece of writing was not a frivolous diary entry (or blog...ha!) it was a statement of their core beliefs, of the things that they were willing to stand, and to die, for! And, indeed, for this simple act, of putting their beliefs in writing, of declaring to the world what they felt in their heart and soul, each of these men suffered great tragedies. It's worth remembering, though, that they KNEW beforehand what could happen to them even before they placed their pens on the parchment and signed the document. They had the courage to do so because they knew it was right and that it was important to the future of all mankind.
These were humble men, who were willing to pledge everything they had to ensure our future and our freedoms. How can we show gratitude for their sacrifices today and in the coming weeks and months? There are many ways, of course. One suggestion would be to google the names of the signers and learn more about them. It makes for a fascinating read. (Also, I have a copy of a list put together by James Witt of some of the things these men endured. E-mail me at cecilymarkland at gmail.com if you would like me to send you a copy.)
I think it would also be appropriate and do us much good as individuals and families to kneel today and express our thankfulness for these men and their dedication and foresight.
More than that, perhaps, for us as writers, we can take our own pledge in our hearts and minds, and even on paper if we dare...to write those things that move us, those things that we know are right and that will contribute to a future filled with light and truth for our posterity and for all mankind. For me, I can't help but declare that as my right and my responsibility.
May each of you have a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend. And, may God continue to bless and guide good men and women in helping to preserve and protect this, the greatest nation in the world.