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Guest Column From State Representative Shannon Jones

Celebrating Our Independence:

A Remembrance of History and A Promise for Tomorrow

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable 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 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.”

These are the words of the Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776. They are as true now as they were in the time of our founding fathers and I have them printed today because so often these words – which have bound this nation since its inception – are forgotten by the very people who enjoy the luxuries, independence and freedoms they provide.

Throughout the past 233 years these words, coupled with many others from our historical documents, have stood the test of time. They have provided focus to leaders in time of war and struggle; they have provided hope to those seeking equality, justice and freedom from oppression; they have provided guidance to children, vision to our servicemen and women and direction in the darkness to an ever evolving nation.

What is so wonderful about our country is that we were founded upon timeless principles. Our nation was born from revolution and grew on the principles Jefferson outlines in the Declaration of Independence. These principles – these guideposts for democracy – have directed our ancestors through adversity and will continue to provide guidance and promise long after we are gone.

What many do not know, however, is that these words were drafted by a reticent Thomas Jefferson, a man of the law and a scholar who would have preferred to return to Virginia to help pen the Virginia state constitution. Instead, his peers in the Constitutional Congress tasked him with the far greater duty of drafting a document of independence. Understanding the significance, Jefferson soon found himself, pen in hand, at his mahogany desk immersed for the next 18 days in the writing of one of this nation’s most treasured documents. This challenge, bestowed to Jefferson by those who knew him well, ultimately resulted in the Declaration of Independence, forever uniting the people of the nation for centuries to come.

What is imperative today is to recall this history, these words. So often we are distracted by our day to day lives – caught up in innovation and invention, the speed of life and the acquisition of possessions – that we lose sight of exactly how truly remarkable this nation is and the importance of passing that awareness on to future generations. If the leaders of tomorrow are only able to recall the lessons of their mothers and fathers, what then should we leave them, if not these truths of liberty and independence?

And so I ask you this, as you involve yourself in the activities of celebrating the Fourth of July this year, take a moment – following the pledge of allegiance or the national anthem, or just as a flag passes you by during a parade – and remember the freedoms we enjoy. Remember also the servicemen and women who protect those freedoms today and the individuals who have given their lives for liberty. Then, in this mindset, make a vow to pass along the significance of our independence to your own children so it is forever held dear in the hearts and minds of generations to come.

To contact my office, please call (614) 644-6027 or write to State Representative Shannon Jones, 77 South High Street, 10th floor, Columbus, OH 43215. I am also available via e-mail at

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