I don't know if there is any better day in America or as an American to talk about the incredible power of words. After all, it was on this day in 1776 that the language of the Declaration of Independence was approved and the first members of the Continental Congress signed it, a document which so eloquently and strongly declared to King George III and the world what the people of this country wanted and why they so strongly felt that we no longer truly belonged to the king's realm but instead must forge our own path as a new nation.
From the very first sentence, the feeling is conveyed that this is not a decision that we the people have come to lightly, but with much reflection and thought. Check out the language:
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 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.
Simply put, this isn't some temper-tantrum, but a decision, a choice that comes with reasons which will be explained because we realize that we owe them at least that much. Would people today ever be so civil with such an idea? Personally, I'm not so sure. As well known as the first sentence of the Declaration is, though, it is the second sentence, the preamble that so many of us are challenged to memorize as students and with very good reason: it is the basis on which our country was raised, a profound statement on human rights, and an idea which many of us still work towards today:
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.
And then so followed in the document our reasons for claiming our independence and the reason behind today's celebrations. Never doubt that words don't have power - the Founding Fathers knew that words could change the world, one person at a time.
Happy Independence Day, America!