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The power of words

Yesterday, with the Pacific thundering outside her garden, Lena mused on “the power of words to shape the future”. She was thinking of those Brits in America who took the time to articulate their principles just before they met the King’s troops in battle. They concluded by saying,

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 Honour.

They were not trying to keep their posts, social positions, or property safe while mouthing fine words and making a few political gestures. They planned to risk their lives and everything they owned to be free and independent, confident that if they lost everything they would still have retained their honour.

Their words shaped the future because they were inextricably bound with their actions.

Do we have leaders today who would pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honour? Would we pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour for freedom? You will recognize the names of the men who did so in 1776 -

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross, Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean, Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton.

Not surprisingly these are all British names with the exception of Mr Paca, whose mother was English and whose father was Italian.