OUR VIEW Founders braved a deadly storm

First Posted: 7/3/2014

By the time you read this, nature’s fireworks should have passed by the North Carolina coast. A storm named Arthur will have left its mark in coastal counties. Here in Richmond County, we saw stormclouds and light winds — a reminder of how far-reaching and powerful hurricanes are given our distance from the coast.

We hope that when the sun rose this morning the damage to our state will have been minimal. Despite all of the modern technology, we still are at the mercy of weather we can’t control.

But at least we can see the storms coming. Back in July 1776, a huge storm was on its way to the American continent. It came in ships from England. It was a war machine meant to crush what British officials considered a rebellious mob.

Those who gathered in the statehouse in Philadelphia those early days of July knew such a storm would eventually reach shore, even if they didn’t know exactly when or where.

Despite that, they did what was unthinkable for that age. They decided rule by a monarch and legislative body across the ocean wasn’t right for them and their fellow inhabitants of the “colonies.”

No less a figure than Benjamin Franklin reminded his fellow members of Congress that by voting for independence, they were virtually signing their own death warrants. But they gambled it all for a chance to be free, for a chance to stand up for liberty.

It’s a momentous event in the history of mankind that we celebrate today. The skies should clear and make great weather for picnics, ball games and firework displays.

We need to make sure everyone is safe and sound in Hurricane Arthur’s wake, but we also still need to make time for a celebration of our nation’s birthday. It’s important to remember and honor the bravery of those founding fathers.

We knew when this week’s storm would pass us by. Those patriots in 1776 had no idea how long the storm from England would last. There certainly was no guarantee it would ever pass.

From our 21st century perspective, it may be difficult to fully understand the dangers faced by those 18th century leaders. We know how it all turned out.

Yet even today, there are parts of the world where the future is painfully uncertain. Wars still plague people. Countries seem to be falling apart while evil people appear to be gaining the upper hand.

We are not a perfect nation. We still have plenty of flaws. But we have it much better than many in the world. And we have those brave people in Philadelphia to thank for that — along with the countless people who have served in the military defending our country since those days in 1776.

While enjoying tonight’s fireworks, take time to really think about what this day means and how lucky we are to live here in Richmond County, North Carolina.