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Take action on Independence Day 

Independence Day – A speech to the citizens of Paso Robles, Calif. in City Park on July 4, 2014

By Randolph L. Kohn

united-states-342405_640Eleven generations ago, in the year 1635, my ancestor, Lt. John Andrews, left England and emigrated to America. Two years later, in 1637, the town of Ipswich in New England granted him 8 acres of land as a reward for his service in the militia.

Fifty years later, in 1687, John Andrews was the Chairman of the Selectmen of Ipswich, when the new King of England, James II, ordered the Governor of New England to impose a tax which violated the charter to the colony. The Selectmen refused to carry out the taxation order and were brought before the Governor in Boston for trial. They were found guilty and put in prison.

In commemoration of this event, the seal of the town of Ipswich, Massachusetts reads: THE BIRTHPLACE OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, 1687.

Eighty nine years later, on the afternoon of July 4th, 1776, in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and the United States of America came into existence.

Today we commemorate that date. Today we celebrate the birth of our nation. Today we honor the people who risked everything to bring it about. We are all familiar with Thomas Jefferson’s words at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence:

“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.”

His words at the end of the Declaration of Independence are not so familiar:

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

So today, July 4th, 2014, let us pledge to do something for our country. Take action!

Join the Marine Corps or join the Peace Corps.
Donate to the Pioneer Museum or donate to the Children’s Museum.
Attend a city council meeting or campaign for elective office.
Belong to a Rotary Club or belong to a Lion’s Club.

Take action and join those Americans who have done so for 238 years back to 1776 and beyond.

In closing, let us recall the words of Katharine Lee Bates from a poem she wrote that was first published 119 years ago this very day on July 4th, 1895:

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Happy birthday, America!
May you live forever!

Speaker Randolph L. Kohn is an 11th generation American. He grew up in rural Minnesota, where his family owned several farms, a hatchery, and a feed mill. During the Vietnam Conflict, he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. he attained a B.A. degree from the University of Missouri and a J.D. degree from the University of Iowa. After a 35 year investment career, he retired to Paso Robles.