Independence Day in Texas
Report from July 4, 2001
by Dr. William Rogers
Co-Director, Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws
Jeannie and I had a most interesting Independence Day this year.
We were invited to attend a cookout at a ranch South of Terrell. There were
some 15 adults present and about 25 children ages 6 to 15 years old. The fare
was somewhat standard: fried chicken, hot dogs on the grill, potato salad, home
made ice cream with fresh fruits, cold beverages (both the brewed and carbonated
After supper, by pre-arrangement with our host and hostess, the crowd
gathered round as I tacked a copy of the Declaration of Independence to a Texas
Live Oak Tree. I then told the group (with emphasis for the children) the story
of the writing of that now ancient document. Then I read the Declaration in its
entirety. After that, we asked the crowd to stand quietly while we read the
names of the signers. Then all present were asked to charge their glasses --with
Coca cola at least-- and I offered a toast (paraphrasing the words of President
John Adams in his toast of July 4, 1826):
"To America...and to Independence Forever."
"...to Independence Forever!" echoed the crowd.
The younger children had drifted a bit. The older ones were spellbound. The
adults were quiet and respectful and shed more than one tear during our
The ghosts of Bunker Hill and Gettysburg, of San Juan Hill, the Ardennes
Forest, Pearl Harbor, Tarawa, Omaha Beach, Chosin Reservoir, Khe San, Lebanon
and Iraq all looked on with approval. And the shade of Old Dr. Franklin nodded
and said, "...hmmm, perhaps you WILL keep it after all."
As for me, I was grateful just to have been part of it.
I hope your day was a good one too.