Thoughts and Toasts for Undiminished Devotion on Independence Day:

During this weekend, take some time to remind yourself, and perhaps to teach some younger people, about the blessings of liberty in the United States of America. The Battle of Gettysburg took place this weekend in 1863, so it is certainly appropriate to remember the many heroes of that battle, including Winfield Scott Hancock, whose bravery may have saved the Union during Pickett's charge.

I've long supported reviving the custom of offering 13 patriotic toasts at Independence Day parties. This article collects some of the historic toasts; I've enabled comments so that people can supply some modern toasts. And of course practicing the responsible use of firearms is an excellent way to honor the anniversary of our revolutionary independence, all the better if you can instruct or introduce someone else to responsible gun use. You may also choose to read, or re-read, the words of our Founders. Teaching your children about the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence will help them understand the meaning of the day, and the meaning of their nation.

A few days before Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826--the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence--he could see that the revolution he had helped to spark was burning throughout the world. He wrote:

"All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are the grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them…"