“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

On July 4th, 1776, 56 brave men signed the Declaration of Independence.  As we celebrate the 245th anniversary of the signing of this sacred document, their solemn words should be at the forefront of every American’s mind.  

Signing the Declaration of Independence was far from a casual event.  By putting pen to paper, each one of these courageous men essentially signed their own death warrant and placed themselves and their new nation as enemies of the world’s most powerful empire.  

Understandably, they second-guessed themselves for days on end before they finally came to a decision.  Whether true or not, some say that the Speech of the Unknown was the catalyst that finally inspired them to sign.  I personally believe that to some extent, the Unknown’s Speech is real.  Here’s a small part of the speech:

“Sign! if the next moment the gibbet’s rope is round your neck! Sign! if the next moment this hall rings with the echo of the falling axe! Sign! By all your hopes in life or death, as husbands–as fathers–as men–sign your names to the Parchment or be accursed forever!  Sign–and not only for yourselves, but for all ages. For that Parchment will be the Text-book of Freedom–the Bible of the Rights of Man forever!  Sign–for that declaration will go forth to American hearts forever, and speak to those hearts like the voice of God!”

They did sign, and they paid a price.  Over ten of them had homes destroyed.  The British captured five on charges of treason and tortured them before they died.  Several of them had sons who were seriously injured or killed in the revolutionary war, and nine of them fought and died in the revolutionary war.

However, God was with them.  And when God is on your side, it’s hard to lose.  America’s leaders stayed focused on Him and issued numerous days of national fasting and prayer.  During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington pleaded with his soldiers to maintain high moral standards, and asked them to pray and fast consistently for their nation’s deliverance.  

After the miraculous victory against Great Britain, America needed to find a new form of government ASAP.  Europe expected us to fall anytime, and several nations were preparing to invade.  Again, Providence intervened.  During the summer of 1787, the United States Constitution was written and subsequently ratified.

As Ben Franklin walked out of Independence Hall at the close of the constitutional convention, some people asked him what type of government they had created.  His response?  “A Republic—if you can keep it.”

This Independence Day, let’s remember the enormous sacrifices made by our founding generation.  Since then, our founding documents have been frequently ignored and undermined.  

While at a devotional in Massachusetts on Oct 20, 2019, President Ballard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints warned us that America is “at another crossroads.”  He continued, “I plead with you this evening to pray for this country, for our leaders, for our people, and for the families that live in this great nation founded by God.  He repeated this warning during the Church’s General Conference in October of 2020.

Can we keep our Republic?  I think so.  Will we keep it?  That’s up to each of us to decide.  We’ve got a ways to go—just like our founders, it’ll take a lot of effort to restore our nation.  Just don’t expect to stay free without the effort.