Let freedom ring

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008

So many of us will celebrate today with ball games, barbecues, family gatherings and even quiet days off.

This day marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence; a time when 56 men gathered in a room to sign a document that told an oppressive leader he could no longer place his foot on the necks of a people across an ocean.

The youngest person to sign the Declaration of Independence, Edward Rutledge, was 26. The oldest person to sign the document was 70-year-old Benjamin Franklin.

Two future presidents, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, also placed their names on the paper, which was deemed illegal by British authorities.

While we celebrate these leaders, founding fathers, as they are called, we also should celebrate those who worked with their hands, tended shops, wrote pamphlets &8212; common laborers as they were called.

Because the Declaration of Independence acknowledged the need for the participation of the middle classes, instead of just the elites in government.

After all, these governmental leaders included physicians, large landholders, rich mercantilists and they needed for the middle classes to enlist on their side with enough people to defeat England without disturbing the balance of power gathered among the elite.

It&8217;s also interesting to note that 69 percent of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence had held colonial office under England.

But in the end, all joined together to take up arms against oppression.

That&8217;s what we celebrate today.