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Eric Douglas: Remembering why we celebrate

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On the eve of the Fourth of July, it’s time for a little history reminder. After all, most of us have been out of school more than a few years.

Tomorrow is the day we declared independence from Great Britain. Not the day we won our independence, just the day we officially said, enough is enough. The first armed conflict of the Revolutionary War happened more than a year earlier, on April 19, 1775, with the battles of Lexington and Concord.

The war continued for nearly seven more years until Gen. Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, on Oct. 19, 1781. The official end of the war, the signing of the Treaty of Paris, didn’t happen until Sept. 3, 1783.

I ran across a page on the website The Bustle that listed these following quotes from founding fathers (and mothers) about the Declaration of Independence. They said it better than anyone today can.

1. “We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must hang together.” — John Hancock

2. “The dons, the bashaws, the grandees, the patricians, the sachems, the nabobs, call them by what names you please, sigh and groan and fret, and sometimes stamp and foam and curse, but all in vain. The decree is gone forth, and it cannot be recalled, that a more equal liberty than has prevailed in other parts of the earth must be established in America.” — John Adams

3. “The flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them.” — Thomas Jefferson

4. “Let us prepare for the worst. We can die here but once.” — Abraham Clark

5. “Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants?” — Benjamin Rush

6. “Let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.” — Thomas Jefferson

7. “May the foundation of our new constitution, be justice, Truth and Righteousness. Like the wise Man’s house may it be founded upon those Rocks and then neither storms or tempests will overthrow it.” — Abigail Adams

By the way, friends in England often tell me “Happy Treason Day” on the Fourth of July. So, it still gets under their skin …

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit www.booksbyeric.com or contact him at Eric@booksbyeric.com

Funerals for Sunday, July 21, 2019

Bly, Betty - 4 p.m., We're Family Park, Exchange.

McBrayer, Doris - 1 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Teays Valley.

Morrison, Jo - 2 p.m., Elizabeth Memorial United Methodist Church, Charleston.

Morrison, Sheldon - 2 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Evans.

Nichols, Anna - 2 p.m., New Hope Baptist Church, Morris.