Every year on the Fourth of July, at around noon on our national Independence Day, the staff at Four Mile Historic Park in Southeast Denver honors me by asking me to lead the reading of the Declaration which Mr. Jefferson so finely crafted 233 years ago this year. “Happy Birthday, America. Let’s make sure King George can hear us,” I shouted. The assembly happily and loudly joined in on the chorus.
I enjoy this yearly communal reading as much as anything I do as Auditor for the people of Denver. Everyone else reading uses a microphone, and a Thomas Jefferson look alike, started us off on the microphone. He started the reading: “When in the course of Human events….” I however read without the microphone because I wanted the patriots gathered at the park for this reading to experience what it may have been like to hear the Declaration read pre-microphone. Everyone, from the municipal band stand to the outer park buildings, nodded, saying they could hear me just fine as I listed the main principles leading up to the grievances we had with the way King George III was treating our early colonial citizens. Then folks line up to read the crimes of King George from their own pocket copies. They could not wait to be counted to stand for the Declaration, young and old. They read the strong active verbs with vigor: He has refused, forbidden and dissolved, obstructed, affected, combined, abdicated this or that. We all finally agreed that the King was, “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
We handed out about 100 copies of the Liberty Day copies of the Declaration, and then regular patriots came up to read a complaint or two against the King. “He has made Judges dependent on his will alone…” “Down with King George, down with tyranny, down with tyrants,” the crowd shouted much to the delight of all. Another youngster loudly and forcefully read: “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” Sounds like another government I know. “Down with King George.” At the end of the reading, after the clear rational case against the King, I asked all present to rededicate themselves to this Declaration and pledge in their own way to give personal support of this great document. No royal titles here, thank you.
This may seem corny, but you can honor this document by reading it aloud, by studying the principles found in the declaration, by getting involved in your government. Only then can we guarantee that this government will be “…of, for and by the people.” If you would like a pocket copy of the Declaration and the constitution which you can keep over your heart like I do, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you a copy. By way of symbolic dedication, sign your own copy as did those framers who signed for their lives and sacred honor. “Fellow patriots, let’s let the old King and any tyrant hear it: “Up with the Republic”