Kelly Golden

Kelly Golden

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Here’s a copy of our Nation's Birth Certificate

Flintlock pistol with American flag and Declaration of Independence

Photo: GETTY IMAGES - Tetra images RF

This last year has been difficult, but it reminds us we’re strong. We’re a nation of strength, courage and determination. This 4th of July, we celebrate the hope and promise of America — a country dedicated to liberty and freedom. Join me in expressing thanks for the service and sacrifice that make today possible. Please take a moment to honor veterans and all who are still serving so we can enjoy the independence our founding fathers fought so hard for.

I’m proud to call America home and grateful for patriotic friends like you, and for our heroes who have defended freedom and hope.

Remember, our flag flies with the breaths of soldiers who gave their all for it, who sacrificed everything for us to enjoy freedoms such as life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Happy 245th birthday America #independenceday

“…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.”

FULL VIDEO: Reading of the Declaration of Independence Charleston, July 4, 2021 - America's Founding Documents

SC Signers of the Declaration of Independence:

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton


'...did you know that four men who signed that important document hailed from the Lowcountry and one of them, Edward Rutledge, had a family plantation in Mount Pleasant?

Rutledge was a mere 26 years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence and was the youngest man to do so. Initially, Rutledge was a moderate when it came to the break with England, and he partnered with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to try to iron out differences the colonies had with Parliament. But realizing that independence was imminent, Rutledge persuaded the other three delegates from South Carolina to vote for it — after they had initially voted against it.

During the war, Rutledge continued to serve in politics, as well as with the militia and was captured during the British occupation of Charles Town. He was imprisoned at St. Augustine with fellow signer Thomas Heyward Jr. and 28 other Charlestonians who had refused to sign an oath of allegiance to the Crown. At the time, rumors were rampant that these men were plotting to burn the town and kill Loyalists. Two decades after the war, Rutledge was elected South Carolina’s governor, and his former home at 117 Broad St. is now a bed-and-breakfast, aptly called the Governor’s House. It stands across the street from his brother John’s home, which is also now an inn. (Note: John Rutledge was a signer of the U.S. Constitution.) The Rutledge family’s plantation was in Mount Pleasant on land that is now part of the Phillips Community and Laurel Hill County Park. Rutledge is buried in downtown Charleston at St. Philip’s churchyard.

Middleton Place, a former rice plantation along the banks of the Ashley River, is the birthplace of another signer, Arthur Middleton. The Middleton family was among the wealthiest families in colonial America. Middleton and his father were both very involved in political affairs and attended meetings in Philadelphia to debate the issue of whether the colonies should make the break with England. Middleton was at the Second Continental Congress when the vote was taken, and he subsequently signed the Declaration, along with 55 other representatives from the 13 original colonies. The next time you are in a state government building, look at the South Carolina state seal, which Middleton helped design. His creation is the side proclaiming the Latin proverb “Dum Spiro Spero” — While I breathe, I hope. Many speakers have used those inspiring words, including President Barack Obama in his 2008 victory speech. Middleton is interred in the family tomb at Middleton Place.

Thomas Heyward Jr. added his name to the Declaration of Independence at the age of 29. By that time, he’d already been quite active in the independence movement during the preceding years. But later, when the British occupied Charles Town in 1780, Heyward was arrested and imprisoned in St. Augustine (which was also occupied by the British at the time). Tradition has it that, while imprisoned there, he rewrote the words to the British anthem “God Save the King,” — Americans recognize the melody as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” — replacing it with the words “God Save the States, Thirteen United States, God Save Them All.” The song apparently caught on and was sung as a hymn in many of Charleston’s churches.

A decade later, when President George Washington visited the city, he stayed at the Heyward home at 87 Church St. — hence the name the Heyward-Washington House, now a house museum. Heyward later lived at 18 Meeting St., where there is another historical plaque. He is buried at his former plantation in Jasper County. He shared his name with an uncle, so the younger Heyward added “Jr.” to his signature to avoid confusion.

Hopsewee Plantation near Georgetown, South Carolina, is the birthplace of Thomas Lynch, the second-youngest signer. Lynch’s father attended the First and Second Continental Congresses in Philadelphia but suffered a stroke while there. The younger Lynch, 26, left his post with the state militia and went to be with his father, joining him at the Congress and making the Lynches the only fatherson delegates present. But since the elder Lynch was too ill to sign the Declaration, the task was left to Thomas. (A blank space on the Declaration shows where the elder Lynch was supposed to sign.) The younger Lynch battled health problems himself as a result of an illness he’d contracted while serving with the militia, so he was unable to resume his military career fighting the British. As the war raged, he hoped to reclaim good health with a trip to France, but the ship on which he was travelling was lost at sea, making him the youngest signer to die at the age of 30.

Because Lynch’s life was cut short before he established himself in politics or business, his signature on the Declaration of Independence is one of only a few of his autographs known to exist, making it a rare find for collectors. The Lynch family’s planation at Hopsewee is privately owned but opens for public tours during different times of the year.'

Here’s a copy of our Nation's Birth Certificate—I like to read it to remind myself of what we stand for as a Nation:

FULL TEXT: Declaration of Independence - The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original. In Congress, July 4, 1776

'The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 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 to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made

Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.

We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. 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.'

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