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describe the imageWe celebrate the founding of our country on the 4th of July with a weekend filled with picnics, parades, and fireworks. We commemorate when we formally declared our independence from England and set forth in writing our grievances with the King. The vote for independence actually took place on July 2nd and July 4th was the day the document was approved. Almost instantly the day was one of celebration, becoming and official Federal holiday in 1941. For many years, the tradition was to read aloud The Declaration of Independence, as it had been read aloud in 1776 in town squares across the colonies.

It’s a great tradition and one that we might all consider re-adopting. Reading the document, aloud or not, reminds one of the beauty of the language, the amazing words that Thomas Jefferson wove together to inspire the colonists, and scores of freedom seeking individuals through the years since then. Here is, arguably, it’s most famous passage:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Reading the Declaration reminds one of the beauty of language. It’s an inspiring piece of work and a testament to the power of the written word. Again and again, we try to express our ideals, our loftiest goals, the answers to our most important questions, in writing. It is in our DNA to communicate with one another. The Declaration of Independence is a beautiful reminder of this kind of achievement at its best. Many others have written about the democracy, liberty and freedom – the founding principles of our nation. I hope you enjoy their thoughts!  Please share your favorite quotes with us below.

Happy 4th of July!

  1. “The basis of a democratic state is liberty.” Aristotle

  2. “A people inspired by democracy, human rights and economic opportunity will turn their back decisively against extremism.”  Benazir Bhutto

  3. “Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.” Louis D. Brandeis

  4. “Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” Albert Camus

  5. “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.” Moshe Dayan

  6. “Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” Albert Einstein

  7. “For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  8. “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” William Faulkner

  9. “Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” Benjamin Franklin

  10. “This, then, is the state of the union:  free and restless, growing and full of hope.  So it was in the beginning.  So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.” Lyndon B. Johnson

  11. “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” Abraham Lincoln

  12. “We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.” Robert J. McCracken

  13. “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Thomas Paine

  14. “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

  15. “Liberty is the breath of life to nations.” George Bernard Shaw

  16. “Freedom and democracy are dreams you never give up.” Aung San Suu Kyi

  17. “The road to democracy may be winding and is like a river taking many curves, but eventually the river will reach the ocean.” Chen Shui-bian

  18. “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” George Washington

  19. “May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!” Daniel Webster

  20. “I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery.” Author Unknown
     

Sincerely,
Jerry Brenholz
CEO and President
ATR International, Inc.

 

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