I cut this out of a Stars and Stripes in Japan over 30 years ago....
"The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence paid a very real and heavy price for paving the way for our liberty and freedom in our own independent country.
To those of you who believe that might makes right and that our forefather were all highly placed social climbers of their day who sat around pondering the virtues of an American Independent nation, or wealthy players making backroom deals, please take note here.
They knew what they were doing and they understood what could happen to each and every one of them for what they had done in placing their signatures onto what we now revere as our 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 who served in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the war. They pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
What sort of men were these guys? Twenty four were Lawyers and Jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers and plantation owners. All were men of means and well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing 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 homes 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 constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family were kept in hiding. His possessions were taken, and poverty was his reward. Vandals looted the properties of Ellery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnet, Heyward, Rutledge and Middleton.
At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. noted the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his Headquarters. He quietly urged General Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
The home of Francis Lewis was destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from the bedside of his dying wife. Their 13 children fled for their lives. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves. Morris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and the sacrifices of the American Revolution….
So - - - while you are enjoying the festivities of the July 4th holiday, take a few minutes and silently thank these patriots for their heroic contributions. It is not too much to ask for the price they paid. America’s Independence, your Independence, began because a handful of men could see the possibilities, the virtue and the power of standing for something which could not be bought or sold, but only won and preserved".
But don’t believe me…. Ask Ann Landers. That is where I found it. God bless our Country.