Today we celebrate Americans 245th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, a new nation destined for world leadership, was born. It is truly a day for celebration. But in the midst of family picnics and firework displays, how many of us have taken the time to think about what really happened on that day so long ago? On the first Independence Day, our forefathers not only declared their independence from an earthly power (England), but they also declared their dependence upon the Almighty God. The last sentence of the Declaration of Independence states: "With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." Declaring independence was not something the fifty-six signers took lightly. These courageous men knew that if they succeeded in winning independence, at best they faced years of hardship and struggle in building a new nation, and at worst, they would be hanged as traitors. These men considered liberty so important that they were willing to put it above all else-personal security, riches or honor. In fact many did sacrifice greatly: Five were captured and tortured by the British before they died; twelve had their homes sacked, looted, occupied by the enemy or burned; two lost their sons in the army; one had two sons captured; nine of the 56 died in war, from its hardships or from bullets. It has been said that freedom is never free, and that is true. America's liberty was purchased at great cost. I encourage you to take time today to reflect on the freedom that we Americans cherish so dearly. Remember the high price that was paid for that liberty and thank God for all those that have risked it all so we may enjoy freedom.