July 4, 2015: The True Power of the Pen
“We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately,” said Benjamin Franklin when he signed the Declaration of Independence. Even meeting to discuss the ideals expressed in the document, constituted a clear act of treason. As British subjects, hanging would have been a merciful punishment. The traditional sentence was being hanged, drawn, and quartered.
The signers were well aware of the consequences. Patrick Henry famously announced, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Henry was one of 25 attorneys who signed the Declaration. They knew the law and they knew the consequences. They also knew that the human spirit cannot be contained and when pushed, will always fight for freedom.
So it was in 1776 and so it is today. I believe the desire for freedom is innate. While it can be suppressed by aggressors, criminal acts, and heavy-handed political tactics, the need to be free will overcome all obstacles. Americans have fought and died to protect that principle and to allow strangers in foreign lands to wake to a sunrise bathed in the sweet comfort of freedom.
Today in a moment of silence or prayer, because you have the right to choose, remember those who died to give birth to the United States of America. Remember those who fought and still serve to keep us free. Remember the people of the world who may never know the taste of freedom.
As attorneys, remember the fight led by our ancestors of the Bar over 200 years ago. Theirs was a fight not of right and wrong, but of survival. Their client was freedom and the price of representation was measured not in dollars, but in days upon this earth.
After the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” How prophetic those words are today. May God continue to bless the United States of America.