This is Derek Miller Speaking on Business. 

Nearly 100 years ago President Calvin Coolidge declared that “the chief business of the American people is business.” But fortunately for all of us, in 1776, a mighty band of brave businessmen and others took time away from their jobs to form, what Abraham Lincoln later so eloquently declared, “a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Of the 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nearly all were men of means, most of them well educated and wealthy. They knew that if they failed, their penalty would be death.

But they signed with high hopes, perhaps best represented by future President, and Declaration signer, John Adams, who, in a letter to his wife Abigail, wrote:

“I am apt to believe that [this day] will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations… with Pomp and Parade… Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other…”

Did you catch that – “from one end of this continent to the other.”  In 1776, the 13 American Colonies only stretched from Maine to Georgia – but Adams believed that our Independence Day would be one celebrated “across the continent.”

As you enjoy tonight’s celebrations, I hope you’ll pause and give thanks to those brave men and women who laid the groundwork for the freedoms we enjoy today. I’m Derek Miller with the Salt Lake Chamber, Speaking on Business.