In Philadelphia 243 years ago, 51 men stood in line to sign their names on a bold document intended to change the course of human history. It was an act that could easily have cost them their lives.
The final sentence in the Declaration of Independence, the one right above all their signatures, ended with: … we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
They didn’t consider their lives sacred, nor their fortunes. But their honor was, and that compelled them to openly communicate their beliefs, to clearly state where they stood, regardless of the tremendous risk to their lives.
William Ellery of Rhode Island, recognizing the tremendous significance of the moment, positioned himself so he could observe their faces as they signed. He described their expressions unanimous in “undaunted resolution.”
As a result, tomorrow we celebrate one of the most important holidays here in the United States. July 4th is a tribute to the courage these men had on that day, to their sense of sacred honor which threw the doors open to democracy and the freedoms that form the very core of our country.
What is honor?
It is integrity in our beliefs and actions.
Honor almost always requires communication, necessitates our speaking up to bring it fully into being.
We may not have one big moment in our lives that requires us to “risk it all” for our honor. But we have many important moments that do require courage and resolution. It’s the seemingly small, daily tests of our truths and dignity that either chip away at our honor or keep it sacred and build it up to powerful self-respect.
In these moments, it’s our decision to step forth and communicate what we observe, where we stand, what is true for us, that enables us to live lives of true freedom.
My wish for you is the ability to communicate as these men did, without fear or restraint, to communicate powerfully and successfully in a way that sets you free in your vigorous pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
Happy July 4th!