To the Youth of America:
You live in the greatest country on Earth. While we have our faults and we make mistakes, we are unparalleled in our ideals and principles. You continue to be a part of the greatest experiment for any country in the history of mankind. Be proud.
The Founding Fathers of this country put pen to paper 233 years ago to declare this nation's independence from England and allow for this country to determine its own destiny. Be proud.
They determined that the rights of the citizens of this nation come from God, not man. Despite what you are told, there is no separation of church and state. The Founders meant that government shall not establish an official government religion, not that you can't put a nativity scene on the steps of city hall. Government will not be there in your darkest hour of need; God will be. Believe.
Your freedom of speech does NOT mean that you are free to say what you will without consequence. This freedom comes with great responsibility, and, sometimes, there are negative consequences to what we say. That does NOT mean that government has the right to determine what is "hate speech" and to try and stop it. A quote I've always loved is: "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend with my dying breath your right to say it." Live it and be proud.
Respect life. Children are a gift from God, not a "mistake" as our President would have you believe. Life begins at conception, and only God can determine whether that life becomes part of this world or not. Unplanned pregnancies are a consequence of decisions you make. Do not destroy innocent life to eliminate that consequence. Instead, think about what consequences could come from your decisions. Learn from that.
Happiness is a state of mind. When you encounter adversity in this life, look for any positive aspect, no matter how small. That will encourage you to try again instead of giving in to defeat. The Founding Fathers knew adversity, yet they were determined to make this the greatest nation ever. Follow their example.
Do not fall into the "politically correct" mindset. Realize that people have come from all different walks of life to unite as a citizenry. While respecting their diverse backgrounds, do not lose sight of yours. Have respect for the feelings of others, but do not fear standing on your principles. Use the moral compass God gave you. Be proud of who you are.
Study the history of this country. Vow to never let the ideals that the Founders set forth 233 years ago be for naught. There are those who will label you a "hater" or tell you that you are intolerant and uncaring. Do not fear this. Instead, listen to the voices of 233 years ago and carry on. It won't always be easy, but greatness never is.
Pursue your dreams. You will encounter setbacks, but forge ahead. This nation was founded on dreams and is a great example of what can be. Stay focused.
I'm going to leave you with the story of what was sacrificed so that you may be free. Ask yourselves one question: What would I be willing to sacrifice?
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."May all of us remember and celebrate this sacred day, and may God bless each and every one of us and this great nation.