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Weekly eLetter 7/3/2020 — Let the Fourth Be With You!

“Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.”

This little bundle of American joy is our sweet granddaughter, Charlotte, known to family and friends as ‘Charlie’. As you can see, she has a tight grip on that flag and rightfully so: That flag holds her future.

I cherish her optimism and feel a responsibility to do my part to see that her dreams – even those not yet dreamed – will come true.

Sometimes being an optimist is pretty hard work. We’re now at the half-way point of getting through 2020. A lot has been thrown at us already and I fear that as the November elections come around we may see yet more ugliness. However, I want you, my good friends, to know that our American spirit runs deep in all of us and we will find ways to work through all this.

One of my favorite Americans was Ronald Reagan and the thing I loved most about him was, indeed, his unfailing optimism. I reflect here on his 1986, July 4th, speech.

“…it’s worth remembering that all the celebration of this day is rooted in history. It’s recorded that shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia celebrations took place throughout the land, and many of the former Colonists — they were just starting to call themselves Americans — set off cannons and marched in fife and drum parades.

What a contrast with the sober scene that had taken place a short time earlier in Independence Hall. Fifty-six men came forward to sign the parchment. It was noted at the time that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And that was more than rhetoric; each of those men knew the penalty for high treason to the Crown. “We must all hang together,” Benjamin Franklin said, “or, assuredly, we will all hang separately.” And John Hancock, it is said, wrote his signature in large script so King George could see it without his spectacles. They were brave. They stayed brave through all the bloodshed of the coming years. Their courage created a nation built on a universal claim to human dignity, on the proposition that every man, woman, and child had a right to a future of freedom.

For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: “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.” Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children’s children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.”

So, enjoy your Fourth, and let freedom ring!

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