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On this day in 1776, 56 brave men risked their property, wealth, and lives; they signed their names to a document that would likely cost them all three if their mission failed. They were printers, inventors, lawyers, a sheriff, orphans, school dropouts, college graduates, wealthy business people, surveyors, doctors, writers, teachers, blacksmiths, a tax collector, a banker, sailors, judges, a surgeon, farmers, soldiers, merchants, prisoners, a carpenter, ministers, and a cobbler. All eventually became not only politicians but statesmen. Many had amassed great wealth they had already lost during the British occupation. Some were even financiers of the war effort.

Since 1607, the colonies were known as British America and the British West Indies. On April 19, 1775, British troops marched into Lexington, Massachusetts, to seize a store of weapons the colonists had collected and to capture John Hancock and Samuel Adams. After British Major John Pitcairn was ordered to disperse, the vastly outnumbered patriots began to drift away. Suddenly, a shot rang out, and the Revolutionary War had begun.

The Patriots suffered eight casualties and ten injuries, while the British only had one injury. The British destroyed the weapons arsenal but were attacked for 16 miles back to Boston. In all this fighting, the British lost nearly 300 soldiers, who were either killed, wounded, or MIA. This was due to Samuel Prescott reaching Concord to warn of the impending arrival of British troops. The Patriots suffered less than one hundred casualties. The war would last another eight years, even becoming a world war of sorts, before the Americans emerged victoriously.

After suffering through years of British occupation and taxation without representation in parliament, the Patriots began to revolt. There was the tax on tea, which brought about the famed Boston Tea Party, and the Stamp Act, which taxed all newspapers and legal and commercial documents. The Quartering Acts required local governments and individuals to supply British soldiers with food, lodging, and other items. That made it legal for soldiers to commandeer private property and residences for their use as long as needed.

That was what led up to this day. This is the 247th anniversary of the meeting in Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence. The document declared the United States of America to be a sovereign nation. The signing itself was a bold move by the signers. They would've all likely been executed if the war had been lost.

One event that preserved the war was Christmas night in 1775, when British troops surrounded Washington's troops with no foreseeable escape. Washington knew an attack would come with the sunrise the next day. He successfully ordered his men and equipment into boats at eleven that night. They lit fires to keep the British thinking they were still in their camps. Just before dawn, while crossing the river, accounts said a dense fog rolled in. It was so thick it concealed Washington's army's movements. Commentaries report that the troops would've been captured without the many prayers for their safety (including the General) on Christmas for wisdom and God's deliverance. The war would've ended before it hardly got started.

After the crossing, Washington marched his troops to Trenton, New Jersey. There, they attacked and defeated the Hessian army, capturing nearly 1000 while only losing four soldiers. The Hessians, or Germans, were fighting with the British. They were drunk from the previous night's celebration when the colonists attacked. In the end, France sent its Navy to our shores to aid the Patriots in defeating Britain. That helped make the difference in whether we were victorious.

As we enjoy good times and tasty food during this holiday, we can take time to remember those that laid everything they had on the line to deliver themselves from oppression and establish our country. Were it not for the French Navy and Washington's Secret Six spy ring in New York and God's divine providence, we would probably eat crumpets and sip hot tea instead of hot dogs, hamburgers, apple pie, and watermelon.

Happy Independence Day, and God Bless America! Have a blessed day in the Lord!
This piece kicks off the start of a new blog series called The Man Cave: Wisdom for Men by Men & Those Who Love Them. Our contributing author is, Andy Hollifield.

ANDY HOLLIFIELD is a published multi-award-winning author with devotions appearing on the www.ChristianDevotions.US website and the website. He's also a contributing author in the Starr Ayers/Stephanie Pavlantos book "Room at the Table." Andy is currently working on his first novel and is assembling a book of inspirational scripture-based short stories along with moral, personal, family, and comical stories.

Mr. Hollifield is the founder and director of H.O.P.E. Ministries in Candler, NC. While operating primarily as a food ministry, it also provides backpacks, Easter baskets, and Christmas shoebox gifts to crisis pregnancy centers, domestic violence shelters, schools, government agencies, and other ministries for their clients and families. The organization also participates in disaster relief and aid for unwed mothers and their children. Andy is also a born-again Christian and former Independent Missionary Baptist pastor.

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