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America’s Anthem: The Declaration of Independence
by James Kilbourne

July 4th is America’s birthday. She was born in 1776 with the creation of the Declaration of Independence, which became America’s anthem during the American Revolutionary War. The American Revolution is still not understood by most of the world and, I am afraid to say, only partially understood by most Americans. It takes more than 229 years to erase thousands of years of tyranny.

The Declaration has two fathers; Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Its face and spirit are Jefferson, and its backbone is Adams. The words of individual rights and freedom became reality through an heroic struggle led by America’s father and her only indispensable man, George Washington. From the Declaration’s fertile soil sprang America’s Constitution, and every constitution thereafter that limits government’s power and protects people’s rights. It has been renewed by the dreams and the blood of American patriots with each new generation, proving that we produce enough sons and daughters who understand its life-changing message to keep it alive. It is still the only new idea among nations of the world. The exact date of its complete victory is still unknown, but the triumph of freedom, if humankind is to survive, is obvious. It was born in the 18th century, it inspired the amazing economic growth of the 19th century, it was challenged by every bad idea imaginable in the 20th century, and it will conquer and rule the 21st and all thereafter, unless mankind decides to experiment with a new Dark Age.

The Declaration of Independence provides the words that make America an idea, not just a country. Tell me what a man thinks of America, and I can tell you how he defines freedom and justice. Hell, I can tell you how he feels about life. Those who love reason, individualism, and capitalism love America. They may have differences with her on some issues, but if they don’t come to her defense when she is threatened, they are not freedom's friends.

To me, the most amazing fact of history is that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826, exactly fifty years to the day after their celebrated creation. It may fall short of being a message from a freedom-loving God, but the fact it happened warms my heart.

America’s anthem is the inspiration for freedom everywhere and has become freedom’s anthem heard around the world. Whenever you hear news of people fighting for democracy, pause and give thanks for the Declaration of Independence. I am thankful every day that by blind luck I was born in this country. I want the whole world to have the comforts and the opportunities that have so enriched my life. When they tear down a wall in Berlin, when an oppressed group is granted a right in Latin America, when a business is allowed to exist in China, a protest is allowed in a former Soviet satellite, a woman attends a school in Afghanistan or a purple forefinger is raised in Iraq, I think to myself, “the world may not know all the lyrics, but they are definitely singing our song.”
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