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Forgotten Fourth Fathers
by LR Campbell
Daughters of the American Revolution member
 June 18, 2023

Booms, pops, rat-a-tat-tats, and sparkling fountains fill noisy and colorful days and nights even though most cities and neighborhoods prohibit fireworks.

The Fourth of July holiday reminds me of many things.

In 1984, I visited the National Archives, when I suddenly stopped. Encased and heavily guarded was the original Declaration of Independence. It was difficult to read; parched, discolored, and distorted by an impenetrable pane to protect it from attacks and UV lighting.

Declaration of Independence with the Founding Fathers signing it. (Image created by USA Patriotism!)
Image created by USA Patriotism!

Regardless, I already knew what it said.

In 1967, my class visited an exact replica of Independence Hall at Knott's Berry Farm in California. Inside, the signing of the Declaration of Independence was depicted in detail. Afterward, I bought a small parchment reproduction that I kept for many years. Over time, public priorities changed; the park is now fast amusement rides, noise, and glaring lights. The Hall gets less attention and perhaps the document is forgotten.

Many years passed while I explored my family tree. Using a handful of names I traced a few generations using birth, marriage, death certificates and viewing records on microfilm.

On my visit to Washington, D.C., I viewed our illustrious Declaration of Independence. Next, I visited my grandparents and mentioned I was still doing our genealogy.

My grandmother said women in our family could join the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR); a sophisticated status symbol in her youth, and asked me to verify our eligibility.

I used her memory, books, and material from; Family History Libraries both local and Salt Lake City, Utah. I also gathered information at the National Archives in Laguna Niguel, California. My research surpassed what I needed, revealing many ancestors ensuring our acceptance. Grandma was grateful for making her dream a reality. I joined the DAR, sadly, Grandma died within a year.

My search revealed colonists, including many of my ancestors, had boldly risked their lives, families, homes, and farms. I was touched by battles, injuries, and deaths found in military and personal documents.

Our Declaration of Independence affirmed that being England’s subjects now ceased. We demanded equality, personal rights, and self-government in a document outlined by a Congress representing the People; their fellow citizens.

This instrument shaped our nation’s history and is a model for countries worldwide.

Fourth of July fireworks, barbecues, and days off work are meaningless to me.

Upon seeing the Stars and Stripes, hearing our national anthem, or pondering the costly sacrifices and dedication of these patriots of liberty and their families throughout the past; as well as, those of today ... I become very emotional.

The true Fourth of July celebration is their legacy for all generations.

LR Campbell
Daughters of the American Revolution member
bookamoto@aol.com

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