Two things there stand out to me.
First, in the eyes of our forefathers the declaration needed both their support and a reliance on divinity. They understood the declaration was meaningless if the men and woman represented by it did not fully stand by it, did not act upon its intent, and did not hold the purpose of the declaration above self-interest. Further, our forefathers were sure enough to put it in writing that some power greater than the human power would need to be employed to make sure the declaration's ambitious objectives could be met.
The second thing that stands out for me is that the authors of the Declaration felt it was important to articulate what they were willing to put into the pot, so to speak, so as to back up their announcement. They should give up their lives.
The last of these sacrifices is the one that most impales me, however, the one that most devastates me. We don't talk about honor enough, and especially not in the context of our politics or governance.
I attended an event a couple of weeks ago at an outdoor venue in Chicago, where a series of Mariachi students and professional performers put on a rousing summer concert for a crowd filled with bright color and food and sweetness. The event opened with the Mexican national anthem and while I'm not Mexican-American myself, I stood with everyone in the crowd and smiled as so many - young, old, in between - belted out with great emotion words that felt familiar even though they weren't to me.
Oh-oh say can you see...
I thought for those few moments of that song I might just sink into the earth for shame. Here these families who no doubt know that one of the candidates for presidency of this country has called them rapists and criminals, who no doubt know that across the street and wide into the city and across this country there are those who would wall them off, those who would presume them false in their Americanism, those who would turn their noses at their social advances even as they'd thank them and call them 'amigo' for care of their lawns or their hotel rooms, these families who continue to be treated like the nation's whipping boy for all things wrong in the economy, in the security of our nation, these beautiful, bright, warm, amazing Americans were mutually pledging their honor to our country in song.
That music was beautiful, that moment - for me - unforgettable, and that triumph of the truly American spirit will stay with me forever and a day. We are these colors, these scenes, and we can only hope to be this honorable.