In this modest room, in what is known as Independence Hall, 56 men of means, with much to lose, signed their names to the most precious document of our founding, the Declaration of Independence. They had no view or assurance of the future, the outcome, or their fate. Many went on to sacrifice heavily. 5 were captured and tortured by the British in the inevitable war the followed. 12 had their homes looted, burned, occupied. 2 lost sons to battle. One had two sons captured. 9 died in war. They knew that liberty was more important than life. In this room, “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” they pledged to each other, their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.
John Adams wrote to his Abigail after signing, ‘I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states; yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of light and glory. I can see the end is worth more than all the means.’
John Quincy Adams wrote a letter to future generations, telling us ‘you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.’
Wednesday morning, Aug 17, before opening to the general public, the US Park Service has invited me and my team to hold a private session in this great assembly room. In this room we will unfurl 15 US flags, dedicated to families who have experienced the cost, from each of the 15 states we will travel through. Then we will fold each of these flags with honor acknowledging John Quincy Adams’ calculation of the cost to preserve our freedom. Folds of Honor for these dear ones.
Following our visit, we will get a photo op at the Liberty Bell. We then hope to fly each flag over Washington Square where thousands of Revolutionary Soldiers are buried. We will then swing by Betsy Ross’ home on our way to a noon day visit aboard the USS New Jersey Battleship, where our flags will be honored again.
Then we will head south, flying our flags over Ft. McHenry, the home to our national anthem, then on Aug 21, these flags will pass the National Archives where that precious document displays for all to see the exceptional nature of our founding and the announced divine author of our inalienable rights. I say wow to that!