The Declaration of Independence was signed 241 years ago today, and Americans have celebrated independence since that day. Most Americans understand that freedom and independence come with a huge price tag attached, and thousands of Americans have died to protect these liberties. Yet, many people living in the United States do not truly appreciate the freedoms given to us.
An article posted at glenmbeck.com contains ten quotes about freedom given by famous Americans “who understood and valued freedom.” These quotes declare the requirements for maintaining freedom and liberty.
The first requirement is virtue. The people of the United States must be virtuous. Benjamin Franklin stated: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Benjamin Rush said: “Without virtue there can be no liberty.”
The second requirement is knowledge. The people of the United States must educate themselves about numerous subjects - particularly the Constitution, history, and the government – and stay informed about current events. Thomas Jefferson stated, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and will never be.”
The third requirement is honesty. The people of the United States must be honest in their dealings with their fellowmen and demand honestly from public officials. Frederick Douglass said, “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.”
The fourth requirement is to support and defend freedom. Thomas Paine stated: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
The fifth requirement is to remember that freedom is a basic right that comes from God, one that must be fought for and protected. President Ronald Reagan said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Benjamin Franklin said: “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.”
President John F. Kennedy summed up all the above requirements when he said: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”