Two-hundred forty-seven years since the Founding Fathers of America signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, we celebrate the significance of this important decision of a people to stand up for the rights that they believe should not be infringed; and to build a nation based on the principles of Enlightenment.
This decision wasn’t made quickly or with a lack of forethought. Disagreement with the British Government over taxation and administration of the colonies and the lack of representation in the British Parliament had been brewing for many years. There had been clashes between American colonists and British forces for several years, with open warfare breaking out the year prior.
It wasn’t until September 3, 1783, that independence from Britain had been fully secured when representatives of King George III of Britain met with representatives of the United States to sign the Treaty of Paris. What propelled this fledgling nation to freedom from the tyrannic rule of a faraway king were those who fought an enemy against whom they were significantly outgunned. Their spirit and determination that freedom and democracy would prevail led the way.
That same spirit and determination exist to this day. American service members have spread and continue to protect freedom and democracy around the world. There are people in every corner of the planet who owe their freedom to the idea espoused in the document signed on that July 4 – that every person has unalienable rights and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
West Virginia Veterans have served in every major conflict our nation has faced. The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance is committed to ensuring they have access to every benefit and advantage they have earned during their service.