Dear Kelan William Hoffman,
It was our overwhelming joy when you were born on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at Newport Hospital. You arrived two weeks early and with a delivery time of less than 40 minutes, faster than we could have imagined! But you and mommy were healthy and happy and so we thanked God.
Since you came into this world right before the 4th of July, I want to give you a brief history of “Independence Day” and update you on the current state of affairs of this great nation of which you are now a new citizen.
On July 2, 1776, at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, the 13 American Colonies voted to declare independence from Great Britain. On July 4th, our Founding Fathers sealed their commitment to freedom by signing the Declaration of Independence. The famous preamble declares “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” John Adams, one of the “Committee of Five” that drafted the declaration, penned a letter to his wife Abigail in which he said “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” In his Pulitzer Prize winning book “John Adams,” author David McCullough states “That the hand of God was involved in the birth of a new nation he had no doubt. ‘It is the will of heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever.’ ”
Kelan, this nation was founded by people that believed deeply in God and in personal sacrifice. By breaking away from Great Britain, they were now traitors, to be hunted down and executed for rebelling against their mother nation. Now these men were imperfect: some had affairs and most possessed slaves. Yet they held the conviction that freedom was worth fighting for and dying for. They knew that God created a world in which you cannot have rights without responsibility.
And that brings us to the year you were born. The USA is in a recession deeper than we have seen in the past 25 years, and perhaps even the greatest since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Unemployment now stands at 9.1%. Our government is trillions of dollars in debt, much of which you will most likely inherit and pay for. Consumers, banks, and automakers are on the verge of failing or going into bankruptcy. Economists say our current situation is due to a “lack of regulatory oversight of financial markets.” Theologians label it individual and corporate greed. A nation once founded on personal sacrifice has lately been driven by personal materialism and self-indulgence. Historically speaking, nations that continue on this trajectory are weakened until they implode from within and/or are defeated from without (i.e. see Roman Empire).
But Kelan, for better or for worse, your father is an optimist and not a chicken little. The 4th of July is coming, and you can’t cry on the most important day of your nation’s history. However, you can choose to listen to your nation’s Founding Fathers who said that on this day, all Americans “ought to celebrate, commemorate, and do solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” What are these solemn acts of devotion? Well, one night this same God Almighty appeared to King Solomon and said “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land”(2 Chronicles 7:14).
My dearest Kelan, if it was God’s will that this nation be birthed, then perhaps it is God’s will that this nation be rescued and restored from its sinful choices. There is always grace and redemption when people look to God for help.
That is what I want you to know this 4th of July, and every 4th of July in which you live and breathe in this great nation where you were born.
Your loving Daddy,