MIAMI (CBS4) – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

That powerful statement of human rights in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence contains what have been called the most potent and consequential words in American history.

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That may be an understatement, as those words helped inspire democracy, freedom and equality around the world.

And on this day when we celebrate freedom, we should remember those who valiantly signed the Declaration, challenging the British Empire, the most powerful nation on earth.

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The signers said that in support of Independence they mutually pledged to each other their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.

Those were not empty words.  Many suffered grave consequences for their courage as did so many residents of what the Declaration first called the United States of America.

As we enjoy our fireworks and barbecues today, let us not forget and honor those who created and inspired this great country.

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