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APF Blog

Stimulus Q&A

Sometime this year, we taxpayers may again receive an Economic Stimulus payment. 

This is a very exciting new program.  I will explain it using the Q and A format:

Q.  What is an Economic Stimulus payment?
A.  It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q.  Where will the government get this money?
A.  From taxpayers.

Q..  So the government is giving me back my own money?
A.  Only a smidgen.

Q.  What is the purpose of this payment? 
A.  The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q.  But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?
A.  Shut up.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:

    *      If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China .
    *      If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.
    *      If you purchase a computer, it will go to India .
    *      If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala .
    *      If you buy a car, it will go to Japan .
    *      If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan .
    *      If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Instead, keep the money in America by:

    1      spending it at yard sales, or
    2      going to ball games, or
    3      spending it on prostitutes, or
    4      beer or
    5      tattoos.

(These are the only American businesses still operating in the US .)

The current recommendation is to attend a ball game with a tattooed prostitute met at a yard sale, and drink beer.

When You Think of Prayer...

   Our Godly heritage in governance is routinely ovelooked, thanks in large part to a contrived wall separating church and state.
  As the Father of our Country, George Washington's prayer life was well documented but is generally not well known. School children are taught about him as a President and perhaps as a military general but not for the prayer which formed both his personal character and, yes, the country he helped to mold.
  There are dozens, maybe hundreds of examples of this ranging from references in proclamations, addresses to Congress assembled in addition to letters and accounts from the field during the Revolutionary war.
  But let us take for one example a 1783 prayer which then-President Washington penned and sent to the governors of the states existing at the time where he called upon the Lord to "...dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation."
   Or perhaps we might look to the prayer and Bible study at the opening of the first Continental Congress in 1774.
  This was a problem for them and much discussion.
  You understand, the problem was not with GIVING a prayer, the problem was with WHO would have the honor. You see, accounts of that September session indicate "there were so many men of piety and virtue, the selection was a difficult one.
  It took Sam Adams to break the discussion, declaring "I am no bigot. I can hear a prayer from a man of piety and virtue, who, at the same time, is a friend to his country."
  He then moved that the Rev. Jacob Duche, an eloquent Episcopal minister, be "desired to open the Congress with prayer..."
   Duche' first read several prayers "in the established form," and then read the assigned passage from the Book of Common Prayer for that day, Psalm 35.
   "Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help."
   It is said that the reading of Psalm 35 gave the founders the courage that the fledgling nation actually could defeat the British as David defeated Goliath.
   We see many articles that the Founding Fathers were not Christians and had no use for prayer. However, maybe it is the Founding Fathers some people choose to talk about. Many have been lost in the mist of time but whose work was both significant and firmly entrenched in the Christian tradition.
  Firebrand Patrick Henry, a decade before the war of independence spoke to the House of Burgesses. In May of 1765 he said, “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
  Perhaps it is the framers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constiution that give us the best look at their intent, in their own words.
 Or how about John Adams, first vice president and second president of the United States? In a letter to his wife Abagail on the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress, he wrote “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
In fact, he advocated that Independence day "ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
His son, John Quincy Adams went on to furhter that sentiment in an 1837 speech in Newburyport, Massachusetts, when he compared Independence Day to Christmas. "Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?" “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity"?
It was another president, Alexander Hamilton, who worked with the Rev. James Bayard to form the Christian Constitutional Society to help spread over the world the two things which Hamilton said made America great, Christianity and a Constitution formed under Christianity.
“The Christian Constitutional Society, its object is first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States.”
In 1787, after the Constitutional Convention, it was Hamilton who wrote For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests."
Another of our founding fathers who subsequently sat as president of the United States, James Madison in 1778 before the State Assemboy of Virginia told his consitutants “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
When it came to education, Guvernor Morris, penman of the consitiution, was straightforward when he wrote "Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore, education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man towards God."
   Apparently the man who literally wrote the Constitution was not overly concerned about the "separation of church and state.

Or Samuel Adams, who in October of 1790 wrote about the Bible and public education.“ Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity… and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.”
  But even if you don't buy into any of this, certainly one of the least religious of the founders was Benjamin Franklin -- however it was Franklin in a 1789 address to Congress who called for prayer saying;
In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers. Sir. were heard and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. . . . And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? 
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: ‘that God governs in the affairs of man.’ And if a sparrow cannot fail to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.
  I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business.” Benjamin Franklin then proposed that the Congress adjourn for two days to seek divine guidance.
  Since that time there have been countless examples of prayer from federal, state and local officials for as many different reasons as there have been prayer. It is our duty to inform our fellow citizens and especially our children of the Godly heritage of these United States.
  But our founders looked forward darkly, to the days that those who did not share Christian values might be elected, and forwarned of what -- at that time was the unthinkable.
“It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans (Muslims), pagans, etc., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, [unless] first the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves.
And John Jay, signer of the Consitiution and first Cheif Justice of the Supreme Court who cautioned “Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab ["Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?" 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.” [

Control or Die

1.  Give Florida law enforcement officers the power to arrest and detain those who have violated federal immigration law.  Florida law currently does not allow state and local law enforcement personnel to make warrantless arrests for violations of federal immigration law.  This must be changed.  State and local police should have the authority to address immigration violations that they come across in the course of their normal duties.  For example, if a state or local policeman reasonably believes that a person has violated federal immigration law, Florida law should allow the officer to detain that person and give federal officials the opportunity to take him into custody. 
Avon Park, Highlands County and the state of Florida need your help.  Contact your Senator, Representative and the President of the United States and tell them city, county and state governments need the ability to detain people who are believed to be in the United States illegal and send them back to the country they came from.
I will say that if you do not believe in local control of illegals you are helping to destroy America.
Why do we have to have a drivers license, occupational license, marriage license?  Looks like if we do not like a law then just ignore it and do as you want.  How long do you think that would last?

Curiouser and Curiouser

As Buckley said, "Socialism has long been discredited intellectually, but when did it get so creepy?"
Nowadays, under the Otrauma administration, that creeping socialism we had under Bush and others has become a full fledged gallop!  And the radicals at the top have set themselves up as our "ruling class" and are planning through payoffs to big labor and radical political groups to perpetuate this status.
The following quote struck me as being particularly eerie:

We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy.

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.


--Manifesto of the Communist Party


See any parallels with the current situation in America?  Well, you would have to be blind not to see them!



Just Think About This;

Back in 1990, the Government seized the Mustang Ranch, a legal brothel
located in Nevada for tax evasion and, as required by law, tried to run it. 

They failed and it closed.

Now, we are trusting the economy of our country and 700 Billion Dollars to
a pack of nit-wits who couldn't make money running a whore house and selling

If that doesn't make you nervous, what does

Molly Pitcher; American Heroin

At the American Party of Florida, it is one of our goals to make certain our citizens and especially our children know the history of this great nation. This coming Saturday marks an act of heroism by one of the lesser known, however most colorful, combatants in the Revolutionary War.

  An Artillery wife, Mary Hays McCauly (better known as Molly Pitcher) shared the rigors of Valley Forge with her husband, William Hays. Her actions during the battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778 became legendary. That day at Monmouth was as hot as Valley Forge was cold. Someone had to cool the hot guns and bathe parched throats with water. 
   Across that bullet-swept ground, a striped skirt fluttered. Mary Hays McCauly was earning her nickname "Molly Pitcher" by bringing pitcher after pitcher of cool spring water to the exhausted and thirsty men. She also tended to the wounded and once, heaving a crippled Continental soldier up on her strong young back, carried him out of reach of hard-charging Britishers.
   On her next trip with water, she found her artilleryman husband back with the guns again, replacing a casualty. While she watched, Hays fell wounded. The piece, its crew too depleted to serve it, was about to be withdrawn.
   Without hesitation, Molly stepped forward and took the rammer staff from her fallen husband’s hands. For the second time on an American battlefield, a woman manned a gun. (The first was Margaret Corbin during the defense of Fort Washington in 1776.)
   Resolutely, she stayed at her post in the face of heavy enemy fire, ably acting as a matross (gunner). 
   For her heroic role, General Washington himself issued her a warrant as a  noncommissioned officer.  
   Thereafter, she was widely hailed as "Sergeant Molly." A flagstaff and cannon stand at her gravesite at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A sculpture on the battle monument commemorates her courageous deed. In fact, the Molly Pitcher Award is presented annually by the United States Field Artillery Association in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
   The American Party of Florida meets the first Thursday of each month at the Homers Restaurant in the Sebring. More information may be gathered at www.americanpartyofflorida.com

Cheap Tomatoes

   This should make everyone think, be you Democrat,  Republican or Independent

   From a California school teacher - - -"As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of:

   I am in charge of the English-as-a- second-language department at a large southern California high school which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its students average lower socioeconomic and income levels.
    Most of the schools you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell Gardens , Huntington Park , etc., where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.
    Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll -- but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten. (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
   I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more DO have cell phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids. (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)

    I was ordered to spend $700,0 00 on my department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; my budget was already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for the computer learning center, half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America . (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
    I have had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the country less then 3 months who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them "Putas" whores and throwing things that the teachers were in tears.
   Free medical, free education, free food, day care etc., etc., etc. Is i t any wonder they feel entitled to not only be in this country but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?

    To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.
    Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases etc., etc, etc. For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.
    We need to wake up. The guest worker program will be a disaster because we won't have the guts to enforce it.  Does anyone in their right mind really think they will voluntarily leave and return?
    There are many hardworking Hispanic/American citizens that contribute to our country and many that I consider my true friends. We should encourage and accept those Hispanics who have done it the right and legal way.
    It does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses to assimilate, and an American culture that has become so weak and worried about "politically correct" that we don't have the will to do anything about it.
    If this makes your blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to everyone you know.


   Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about?
    Business doesn't want to pay a decent wage.
    Consumers don't want expensive produce.
    Government will tell you Americans don't want the jobs.
    But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase "cheap labor" is a myth, a farce, and a lie. there is no such thing as "cheap labor."
    Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for $5.00 or $6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax Return, he gets an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200 free.
    He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent. He qualifies for food stamps. He qualifies for free (no deductible, no co-pay) health care. His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school. He requires bilingual teachers and books.
  He qualifies for relief from high energy bills. If they are or become, aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI. Once qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare. All of this is at (our) taxpayer's expense.
   He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance. Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material. He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits.
   Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their bills and his.
   The American taxpayer's also pay for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up.
    Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT! Wake up people.

Where's My Torch & Pitchfork?

  The annual celebration of the nation's birthday is right around the corner. Most folks will mark it with the usual red, white and blue, combined with a smattering of barbecue and family followed by the obligatory fireworks  to cap off the day.  

   A few of us might even given a nod to the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence.  But those who take the day to reflect on this great experiment of freedom will be rare.

   In comparison, today's political situation is not significantly different is it now than it was back in the mid 1770's.

   At that time the colonies were under the rule of England and King George looked upon the Americans as with contempt -- rabble that needed to be led.  They were percieved largely as uneducated farmers and merchants who had their daily lives to live and didn't think much about the crown until the tax man came around.

   In fact, thought the aristocracy, "those people" across the pond probably weren't even capable of governing themselves. Even their leaders for the most part were portrayed as being those "not able to make it" in England. And when they banded together to start a new country there were more than a few detractors.
   Make no mistake, the  core of "revolutionaries" were men of means and education. Twenty-five were lawyers or jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer. Nevertheless, they were preparing to take on the greatest empire the world had seen to date.
   But there were detractors as well -- "voices of reason" trying to affect change "within the system." Can you hear them trying to talk some sense into George Washington? Why would he hang around with loosers like that Jefferson guy? Or Adams, Franklin or Hancock for that matter? What chance did they think they had against the British? The master of the seas, the largest standing army in the world? In short the most powerful and well established government and military on the face of the earth? Why not just go with the flow, get some land and gentry?
  Yet the colonists did it. They overthrew oppressive rule through will and determination coupled with the tactics of the new world.
  That is more or less the feeling many of us get in the American Party of Florida. Yes, like Washington, we are advised that maybe we should cut a deal with the ruling parties -- instead of a title and millions of acres of the New World, perhaps there'd be some juicy committee chairmanship or other appointment we might enjoy at the taxpayers' largess. The annointed in Washington, Tallahassee and even in the Highlands County seat have a way of spending other people's money in a way they would never spend their own.
  But like Washington, Jefferson, Adams and the lot, many of us have decided to risk our lives, fortune and sacred honor to try and return the government to its roots. The response has been both overwhelming and daunting.
   Daunting. given the amount of white noise of voters' daily lives, overwhelming, in people's current inability to understand how government now works because the procedures and party bickering over laws has superceded the idea of what is good for the country.
  Most people are fed up and are looking for a new way. We hope to provide that opportunity.
  Like King George and the monarchy, most of the annoited elected officials look down on the citizenry as a necessisary evil. It is us who need to keep providing "the government" with tax dollars so they can redistribute it and "bring home the bacon" as it were. They need to be able to show up at meetings and present oversized checks in front of the newspaper cameras so they can get back to their cushy offices and send out their minions to deal with the rabble.
   In the same vein, the annointed Senators and representatives need to lead us like sheeple, when we rise up against their actions, they admit they "have just not done a good job educating us," and were we "better educated, we would understand and readilly accept what they wanted to do to us."
   This is most recently exhibited in the amnesty act. When voters called in, in record numbers, shutting their offices down with protest, what did they do? They killed it, then resurected it. When the voters again rebelled, they killed it again and decided to start slipping in the pieces here and there under the radar.
   Where are the major political parties? They are defending these actions or at the least remaining silent.
   It has been said that "all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing."
   One of the ways that slavery was overcome in this country was through the good men and women abolitionists who began  an American Party back in the mid 1800s in an effort to return American government to its founding roots. That party later became the Republicans.
   Their current leader now represents two of the deafest of all ears to what the people want.
    The month of June marks the birthday of John Paul Jones, the Father of the American Navy and naval war hero. While at the helm of the "Bonhomme Richard," Jones engaged the larger British frigate the "Serapsis." Despite being raked twice by cannonade and taking on water from a hole in the side, he refused to surrender.
   When told to strike his colors, Jones responded "I have not yet begun to fight!"
   Jones then rammed the Serapsis, tied off, then took over the larger vessel.
   In that same way, members of the American party continue the fight, fueled by patriotism and a common disgust for the direction in which we are headed. Perhaps it is time to unfurl the sail and give the order for general quarters, ramming speed and prepare to engage.
   Happy Independence Day...

Opening shot

  First, our thanks to Greg Luce who has helped to get the page up and is helping us manage it. Second, this page belongs to the APF, so members, start the conversation -- let's look at the biggest problems and potential solutions!

What's it going to take?

  The question is, what's it going to take to get people motivated? How is it the big box parties have such a stranglehold on us, even at the most local levels, that many won't at the least change their registration to No Party Affiliation and show how disaffected and disenfranchised they are?

  Is it because they believe if they're not a republican or a democrat they cannot vote? Are they so eaten up with keeping their heads above water they have no time to think about politics? Is it that they are afraid of "throwing away their vote" because the candidate is not recommended by one party or another?

  I am simply at a loss to explain it! Help me here!

Speak English!

   Illegal immigration is a very hotly debated subject in this county. Most people have very definite ideas on how it should be handled. I would like to know, though, what makes you think that "Racists have grabbed hold of this idea?" I have heard lots of arguments on all sides and have not thought any of them "racist." It has been my experience that the race card is played by those who cannot give a convincing argument on behalf of their opinion so they shout racism!

  As for the speaking of a different language in public most of us are of the same opinion. If you are a tourist here for a short time there is no reason for you to learn our language. If you cannot be understood and have a hard time getting around you just have to deal with it, but if you work here and live here and your children go to school here then you should be trying to assimilate into our culture and speaking the language is the first step.

  If you do not want to assimilate into this culture then you have no business here and, yes, we have a big problem with you. It is not racist! If you have no interest in swearing allegiance to America then you have no business working or living in America or taking medical care or assistance for yourself and your family.

  You say within two generations all Illegals here will speak English. I submit that the ones I see in this county have no interest in learning English and are quite smug about it. The ones at the meeting in July 2006 in Avon Park were very emphatic about it actually. As far back as 1990 "English only" was suggested at Walker Hospital and certain peoples there had a fit. What you speak in your own home is no one's business but in the work place or in public it should be English. If you take our money you should speak our language.

  We are in a very deep recession at this time and every job that is still here and has not been out-sourced to another country should be for American citizens, period! No amnesty for anyone just because that person has managed to escape detection for a certain amount of time. If I robbed your house or stole your identity and was caught later you would still want me arrested and prosecuted. It is the same with Illegal Aliens, no matter where they are from! Europe, Asia, Africa or South America-Cuba/Mexico. What part of illegal is not understood?

  If illegals want to be forgiven for stealing into this country then go to your nearest Army recruiting office and volunteer for the service. If you get back here and still want to become a citizen I will be glad to accept you as one. If real citizens have to go to war for this country then the illegals should have to also! Your service to this country would allow you and your spouse and your children citizenship only. Not Momma, Daddy, sister, brother, Gramps-Grammy or great-aunt Whoever! I have two words for anyone wanting amnesty — Ellis Island.

  That is how all of the forefathers and mothers and uncle and aunts came here legally. That is the only solution that real citizens will tolerate of this illegal behavior. This is not racist, this is the way it is.

Brenda Heigl is the Vice Chair of the Highlands County APF.

The history of the Declaration

  As we get ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, our nation's official birthday, many Americans are not aware that declaring our independence didn't take place on a single day. Rather it came as a series of events beginning in January 1776 with the publication of Thomas Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense," which called upon the American colonies to declare themselves free and independent.
  By June 7 of that year the idea of declaring our independence had become so popular that the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, received an official resolution from member Richard Henry Lee urging Congress to declare independence.
   That measure read in part: "Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
   So on June 11, the Congress appointed "The Committee of Five" (Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston) to draft a formal declaration of independence. Jefferson, at the request of the committee, took just a little over two weeks to formulate his rough draft of just such a document.
   Even after review by the committee, it's beginnings remained unchanged:
  "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
   "We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator)with (inherent and] inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness..."
   On June 28, 1776, just one day after it was presented, the committee's draft of the Declaration of Independence was read in Congress.
   Debate then ensued, commencing on July 1 as members of the Continental Congress argued over and revised the Declaration. However, the Congress did not wait to declare independence - they did so the very next day, July 2, as the British fleet and army arrived at the harbor in New York.
   Americans celebrate July 4 as the country's actual Independence Day, because it was in the morning of that bright, sunny - but cool - Philadelphia day John Dunlap printed the first copies of the Declaration of Independence and the process of distributing them began.
   The following day, July 5, John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, dispatched the first of the copies, referred to at the time as 'Dunlap's broadsides' to the legislatures of New Jersey and Delaware.
   The word of America's break from England then spread like wildfire. The Pennsylvania Evening Post of July 6 printed the first newspaper rendition of the Declaration of Independence. 
  Then, on July 8, came the ringing of the Liberty Bell and the first public reading of the document in Philadelphia. The following day, General George Washington ordered that the Declaration of Independence be read before the American army in New York.
   All that time, it had not even yet been inked by most of those who passed it. In fact, it was not until two weeks after the declaration, on July 19, that Congress ordered the Declaration of Independence engrossed (officially inscribed) and signed by members.
   Even that did not come right away. In fact, it was not until Aug. 2 when the delegates began to sign the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence, with John Hancock being the first.
   What we now observe as Fourth of July celebrations are reported as early as 1777, but it wasn't until 1791 that it would become known as Independence Day. Still, it would take almost 100 years - in 1870 - before Congress made it an official holiday in 1870. In 1941 it became a paid holiday.
  So as we get ready to celebrate that one day, know that the Declaration was a long time coming, and it is our responsibility not to forget what it says and enforce its provisions as free citizens of these United States.

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