News Column

These Truths Self-evident: Heat, Flags, Fireworks

July 3, 2012

Mike Clary

flag and fireworks

We hold these truths to be self-evident: the Fourth of July will be hot and steamy. There will be hot dogs and burgers on the grill. There will be fireworks.

When, 236 years ago today, the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to adopt the most important document in American history, Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues may had little idea they were creating a popular mid-summer holiday -- and this year a mid-week break from work.

Included in the text of the Declaration of Independence is this famous assertion: It should be, like, so obvious: everybody gets born with rights that can't be messed with, and that includes chasing their dream.

OK, those are not Jefferson's precise words. He actually wrote: "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."

On our Facebook page, we asked South Floridians to rewrite or interpret those 35 words in a more modern idiom.

Several respondents said the famed document needed no reworking, that the founders' words were are as clear and powerful now as they were in the 18th century. "It is perfect the way it is!" said Betsy Fair.

But some took up the challenge.

"Truth is obvious, everyone is equal. Under God's Law, we all have rights. We have the right to live, we have the right to be happy. We have the right to be free. So don't kill me, don't hurt me, don't make me live a way I don't want to," posted Denise Marie Hecker-Leon, of Hollywood.

Hecker-Leon, 40, was getting ready Tuesday to host a holiday family get-together around the pool, where there will be barbecue, potato salad and a cake with red, white and blue frosting. Later, said she, the gang will all go to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach to see a fireworks display.

From Coral Springs, Jen Russon wrote, "The following goes without saying: rich, poor, gay, straight, insured or not; these circumstances should have no bearing on a citizen's right to participate in democracy."

Patrick Odea of Fort Lauderdale said: "It means ALL human life is sacred from the womb to the tomb!"

Jason Lobel, 47, a computer technician in Deerfield Beach, said he plans to spend part of the Fourth at the gravesite of his father, Irving Lobel, a World War II veteran who died 10 years ago. He'll take his mother, Mildred, 86.

He will also fly the flag at his home, in recognition of the importance he sees in the holiday and the Declaration.

"The Founders knew that what they were writing was going to be ground-breaking stuff," said Lobel. "It is an actual living document that serves as a model for the world."



Source: (c) 2012 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)


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