The Tradition

I awoke this morning in the quiet dawn before the rest of the family. After feeding Lucy, our dog, and making the coffee, I retrieved the NY Times from the driveway, sat down at the kitchen table and read it cover to cover.

I finished with the Declaration of Independence, which the Times reprints each year on this date. It’s something they’ve been doing since the 1870s and re-reading it once a year has become a tradition for me.

Each time I do I come away with a new and different appreciation for the document. This morning, I was struck by the prose – “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people” – and also the sheer ballsiness of our Founding Fathers.

In the current vernacular, those gentleman had “game”. Big time game.

I’ve tried to coax my children to enjoy this annual tradition, with limited success. One’s appreciation for this thing we call “America” only develops with an awareness of the alternatives, not something top of mind when your focus is on summer vacation and social networking. So for the kids, here’s something to get you started. For everyone else, enjoy your version of the tradition.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Tradition

  1. Brian

    My son and I were talking about the Declaration of Independence and how every one of them was likely labeled a “traitor” and would have been killed if captured by the British or if the rebels had otherwise failed to succeed. Ballsy is right.

  2. Joni Hjerpe

    The history of our country is so much more interesting now that I live in South Carolina! Happy Independence Day, Mike!

  3. Craig Norris

    I just watched 90 seconds of a trailer for some animal movie before realizing that I was supposed to click on the hyperlink and not the video advertisement. I’m glad the founding fathers risked their lives to secure my freedom. Give me ad-free browsing or give me death!

  4. Greetings, Mike!
    It was so good to see that you were writing and sharing again, and then I couldn’t log in to comment. I love hearing about your life again. Out on the road was so fine, so life-reaffirming.

    Jan in on a solo bike ride from SW Indiana back to her home in Haslett, MI. I am so happy for her, and proud of her – she really wants to know that she can DO it, unaccompanied. I am glad that we were together for the Southern Tier, though. I’m on a road trip now also – foot-loose and fancy-free – strange new life.

    Best of Luck, and keep on writing (and photographing!).

    Irene

  5. Jan Schultheiss

    Did you know, Mike, that the U.S. Declaration of Independence may have been influenced by the so-called Plakkaat van Verlatinge ‘we’ here in the Netherlands (which weren’t the Neherlands yet at that time by the way) issued in 1581 to start separation from Spanish rule? This is, at least, what Stephen Lucas, professor of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin – Madison believes to have discovered (see Barbara Wolff, ‘Was Declaration of Independence inspired by Dutch?’ (version 29 June 1998), http://www.news.wisc.edu/3049 (8 July 2012)).

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