It is indeed important that we are reminded of the purpose of that proclamation.
'WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in general congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, 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; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. 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.'
Many years have passed since that day, and through the course of those years many changes have taken place, and it is well that we ask ourselves where are those 'Free and Independent States' today?
Independence? Freedom? Southerners are reminded of another July 4th in the history of America. Take yourself back in time to 1863. Our people were butchered and starved at Vicksburg Mississippi, for 'Those People's' version of independence. They surrendered only after a very long and deadly siege, which brought on starvation, disease, mass death and total destruction. Hardships we today no longer understand! The entire Southland was reduced to poverty, and deprivation, only to be taken advantage of once again by carpetbaggers, scalawags and puppet governments. All because we sought independence, for which this day is honored.
Confederate Soldiers under General John C. Pemberton were forced to surrender to Yankee Barbarians, under General Ulysses S. Grant, after the long siege. The horrors, crimes against humanity and war crimes inflicted upon the good citizens of Vicksburg Mississippi, by these criminals, can only be appreciated and comprehended today, by the Almighty God. Call these Yankee Veterans heroes if you like, but justice, judgment and honor have another name for them, and it isn't complimentary.
So this day is proclaimed this as 'Independence Day'! But where is our Southern States Independence? The Yankees cheered, laughed, sang and mocked at our suffering, with great celebration, dancing and music. Even as the dying and wounded lay about them. May God awaken those Southerners who so easily forget, or are willfully ignorant of what happened, to the true meaning of independence?
When was the last time our conquerors expressed sorrow and shame for their aggressive invasion, conquest, occupation, subjugation and cultural genocide against the Southland, or even offered suitable recompense? And where were the trials held for the war crimes and holocaust against the Southern people? What penalty was served against the perpetrators?
If Independence Day means anything, it should be honored for more then clichés, rhetoric and fireworks. It should stand upon a foundation of principal; that Almighty God endows all peoples in creation, with the inalienable right to decide for themselves, what manor of society, government and nation shall be theirs. 13 states and territories of the South, made such a choice!
Southerners - If you want to celebrate Independence Day, strive for Southern Independence, and then we can celebrate our own, which has thus far been denied by the very conqueror to which we today pay such tribute.
Yes, we should celebrate "Independence Day" but we should do so by striving diligently and persistently, to reclaim those principles of local self-government, State sovereignty, and Southern Independence, for which our Colonial, as well as our Confederate forefathers fought, suffered, bled and died in agony.
Edited in part from a message by Thomas Guinn - July 2002