whew.  we’re having some people over today for a cookout/boat ride to see fireworks, and i cleaned and cleaned and cleaned the filthy house yesterday and the day before.  today it didn’t seem that i had much to do – a sugar-free chocolate cake for kevin, a big pan cookie, devilled eggs…but one thing led to another, and i’d hoped to be relaxing here on the couch by one at the latest, but it’s already 3:25.  people could show up as early as four, but maybe they won’t.

yesterday i also made a huge pitcher of sangria and am looking forward to that.

maybe this time, when the party starts i’ll just STOP WORKING.  i always rush and rush and rush around getting things for people and i’m worn out and don’t have a great time.  but why have a party if it’s not fun for ME?

they can get their own damn stuff.

so i found this on a site called indyposted.  it says the site is “quick news for busy people.” i found it very interesting to think about, on this independence day of ours.

The Declaration of Independence: Jefferson’s Critical Change

After 234 years, Americans do not often think about what our founding fathers risked in declaring independence from Britain. Behind the beautiful script and elegant signatures is a story of suffering and sacrifice. The Sons of The American Revolution web site reports notes as follows.

At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis, had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire, which was done. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home after the war to find his wife dead, his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Even though no signers of the Declaration of Independence were executed, many went against their own financial interests and suffered great hardships in the course of the War of Independence on matter of moral and political principle. The Sons of the American Revolution website does a fine job of presenting the  historical controversies that endure to this day over the American Revolution.

What is deeply significant is the extent to which the American Revolution ushered in the concept of citizen instead of  being a subject. A citizen has rights and duties. Being a subject implies passivity. Scientists who have examined the Declaration of Independence looked with interest at what was crossed out and written over in Thomas Jefferson’s draft. Throughout the Declaration of Independence, the word “subjects” was obliterated and replaced with the word “citizens” The Washington Post reports on this critical change as follows.

“But in a moment when history took a sharp turn, Jefferson sought quite methodically to expunge the word, to wipe it out of existence and write over it. Many words were crossed out and replaced in the draft, but only one was obliterated.

Over the smudge, Jefferson then wrote the word “citizens.”

No longer subjects to the crown, the colonists became something different: a people whose allegiance was to one another, not to a faraway monarch.”

Modified spectral imaging technology now makes it possible to reconstruct what had been on the draft before it was written over. At the intersection of technology and history, it is now possible to reflect upon how our concept of nationhood, belonging and civic responsibility has changed. Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of Independence were born as British subjects and died as American citizens. The technology that makes it possible to reconstruct what was deleted gives us a glimpse of the iner shift in attitude and awareness that changed not only America but the world. Freedom of Speech, of religion and our legal system evolved here and set the tone for the world. The idea of responsibility as a two way street comes vividly to life as Thomas Jefferson’s erasures now come to light. Perhaps in looking more deeply into our past, we can better appreciate what we have today. In each generation, people sacrificed so that what we now have might endure. July 4 is a good day to remember this.