On 6/29/01 the Debs Fun Pages published information regarding what happened to some of our founding fathers and I was so moved by it that I printed it out and have kept it in my desk drawer ever since. I found it the other day and I continue to be moved by it to the point where I feel compelled to share it with everyone who reads my blog, so here it is:

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and were tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Continental Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships as a result of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners. They were all men of means and well educated. They signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader saw his ships swept from the sea by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in Congress without pay and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward. Vandals and soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste and he lived in forests and caves for more than a year. He returned home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They gave you and me a free and independent America.

The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't just fight the British. We were British subjects at that time and fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So, take a few minutes and silently thank these patriots. It is not too much too ask for the price they paid for our freedom. Remember, freedom is not free!

I was moved by this and it inspires me to vote in every election. After all, they sacrificed everything for an ideal they strived for, which was a government by the people and for the people. They sacrificed everything so that they and their families and future generations could live in a country where the citizens decided what the government would be; therefore, we MUST participate in our government by VOTING. That is where the power is - by the people and for the people!

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