I always enjoy revisiting the history and significance of our American holidays. That’s what I did this morning and I thought I’d pass along some of what I brushed up on…
1770s – Most American colonists were still loyal to King George up until the 1770s. But when England kept trying to exert control over colonial affairs, it started a revolution.
1775 – The first Revolutionary Battle at Lexington and Concord took place in April of 1775. When British troops were sent to confiscate colonial weapons, they ran into an untrained but angry militia. This ragtag army defeats 700 British soldiers and the surprise victory bolsters their confidence that America can become independent of Britain.
June 1776 – In 1776 the Continental Congress was meeting in Philadelphia debating: 1) Are we fighting for our rights as Englishmen within the British empire? or 2) Are we going to fight for our independence? Though they were divided, in the end, they decided to fight for independence. So on June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a “Committee of Five”, consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, to draft a declaration of independence.
July 1776 – On July 2, 1776, the Congress voted to declare independence. Then on July 4th, they approved the Declaration of Independence as the means by which they would declare such independence. This document was basically a 28 count indictment against King George that ended with a declaration (hence its name) that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. The first July 4th celebration actually took place on July 8th when the Declaration of Independence was publicly read in Philadelphia. The crowd reacted with gunfire, bonfires, and fireworks.
1781 – British General, Charles Cornwallis, surrenders to George Washington’s American Continental Army and Comte de Rochambeau’s French Army.
1783 – On September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, in which Britain agreed to recognize the sovereignty of the United States and formally end the war.
Over the course of the seven-year Revolutionary War (1775-1783), 4,435 soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their very lives in order to pave the way for a better future for themselves, for their children and for progeny. This is why we have the day off today – to remember not only the approval of the Declaration of Independence, but its significance as well. People we don’t even know sacrificed their lives for our good. This has resulted in the many freedoms we enjoy today (freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and so many others.).
Sadly, our American culture has become very self-centered instead of others-centered. And by and large, we focus too much on our rights instead of our responsibilities – like our responsibility to leave the world a better place than we found it. I don’t know about you, but I find the example of our forefathers so inspiring! Like them, I want to give my life in the service of others, and leave this world a better place than I found it. I hope you do too!
If this is of interest to you but you don’t know where to start, why not join us this Sunday at New Day Church? This Sunday we’re kicking off a brand new teaching series called MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU where we’re going to pull the spiritual themes from the Star Wars movies and teach you what the Bible says about those themes.
Darth Vader once said, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Well God feels the same way! That’s why in a short time from now (Sunday, July 9th) in a church not too far far away (we meet at the Basketball Hall of Fame), we’re doing this series. If the devil puts thoughts in your head about skipping this series or not inviting your friends you tell him “Mind tricks don’t work on me!” We would love for you to join us for this fun, summer series where faith and film collide!
You never know – this could be the start of you using your life to make a positive difference in this world, just like our forefathers.
Hope to see you Sunday!