signers Back to Page 2
To all those interested, brother and sister alike, what follows is taken from former US Senator/Georgia Governor Zell Miller's book, "A Deficit of Decency." Chapter 18


Whenever I read Psalm 127--"Except the LORD build this House, they labor in vain that built it. Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain." I think of the hundreds of students I've had in my classes over the years and the history lesson I've always tried to teach them.

The lesson begins with a powerful and certain statement: From the beginning, God built and kept this country. Our pilgrim forefathers knew that future generations would wonder why they would crowd men and women and children aboard a frail little vessel called the Mayflower and undertake a dangerous voyage across an uncharted ocean. So they did not mince words; they made their motive abundantly clear: "This voyage was taken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith." No squishy words here. They spoke plainly and to the point. It became known in history as the Mayflower Compact.

And they lived by it 24/7, as we say today. With a Bible under one arm and a musket under the other, they carved out a civilization from the wilderness "to advance the Christian faith."

We see these strong sentiments manifested 250 years later in the Declaration of Independence. Our leaders had decided they could no longer endure the oppression of Great Britian. They had no rights. They paid taxes but had no representation. So they met that hot summer of 1776 in Philadelphia. And with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin leading the way, they drew up a list of grievances against their Mother Country. They started off the great document with these familiar words: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." There in the first paragraph, the twenty-first word of the document that defines our nation, the name of God is mentioned clearly and unequivocally.

A few paragraphs later, our first U.S. Representatives appeal to the "Supreme Judge of the World" for the strength to fulfill their ambitious goals.

And they conclude, "With a firm reliance in a Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred honor." The Declaration of Independence has been called the birth certificate of this country. And our Creator, mentioned five times, is clearly this country's father.

These were deeply religious men and extremely brave men. They knew that when they signed that document, in the eyes of the King of England, they would instantly become criminals. They could be arrested, thrown into prison, have their land confiscated, or even be put to death. But they did it; and they did it without hesitation. John Hancock wrote his name very large because he said he wanted the king to be able to read it without his glasses. He also urged that it be unanimous, that they all sign it . He said "We must hang togther."

Ben Franklin added, "Yes, for if we don't hang together, we will hang separately."

So, more than 220 years ago, fifty-six men placed their names beneath the declaration and pledged "their lives, their fortunes,and their sacred honor."

And they did pay the price for freedom. They learned, as we have throughout the generations, that freedom is not free. Of the fifty-six original signatories, five were captured and tortured until they died; twelve had their homes looted and occupied by the enemy before they were burned; two had sons killed in the war that followed; one had two sons captured; and nine others died during the war because of hardships. They all served in that first Congress without pay. Many loaned their own money to the war effort and were never reimbursed.*****************

Brethern/Sisters, the chapter continues on, but I wanted to convey to you that the cost of freedom exacts a heavy price.....HUMAN LIVES and HUMAN SUFFERING; of young and old alike. Our freedom was not won by benevolence. It was not won by diplomacy. It was not won by appeasement. It certainly was not won by capitulation. It was won by a dogged determination under the force of arms with a vision toward the future. A future of freedom, of self determination and limited government by those brave men who were willing to sacrifice all to achieve liberty for themselves and their families. It is beyond absurdity to imagine we can preserve it by any other means! ----------- LET US NEVER FORGET!

Back to Page 2