Happy Independence Day

In January of 1975, Millicent Fenwick arrived in Washington, DC, as a representative of the people. Awed by the view of the Capitol and the responsibility she was given by voters on election day, she took a moment to pause and reflect. Before her was a temple of democracy, and she was now a member of one of its legislative bodies. At 64-years-old, she was the oldest member of the freshman class and one of just 18 women in Congress.

 

“I, Millicent Fenwick, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Those were more than just words to her. Fenwick’s ancestors date to pre-revolutionary times. Her great-great grandfather, John Stevens, was known as the ‘Treasurer on Horseback” during the Revolutionary War. And it was his father, also John Stevens, who as a member of the Continental Congress had the honor of ratifying the U.S. Constitution on behalf of New Jersey, becoming the third state to do so.

Of course, without the Declaration of Independence none of this would have been possible. Today we remember those who had the vision of creating a country where freedom rings and those who have fought to preserve that freedom for 235 years.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.”

To read a full text of the Declaration of Independence visit the National Archives:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Happy 235th Birthday America!

 

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