The purpose of this website is to remind all of us about some
of the most important components of the heritage of the United States of America (and also provide a bit of patriotic
music and fireworks).
First Prayer of the Continental Congress, 1774
From the archives of the Office of the Chaplain (US House of Representatives)
The Prayer in the First Congress, A.D. 1774
O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the
dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down
in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves
on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness
of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore,
Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs
of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes,
of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in
the day of battle!
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on
the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually
restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their
bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou
seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the
name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen.
Reverend Jacob Duché, Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 7, 1774, 9 o’clock a.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance
I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation
under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all
On March 3, 1931, The Star Spangled Banner was adopted by Congress as our National Anthem. Francis Scott
Key wrote it more than 100 years earlier, after watching the fierce Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes
and bright stars through the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets'
red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O! say does that star-spangled
banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists
of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering
steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In
full glory reflected now shines in the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave O'er the land of the
free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's
confusion, A home and a country should leave us no more! Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. No
refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled
banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O! thus be it ever, when freemen
shall stand Between their loved home and the war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued
land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And
this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.' And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave!
The American Flag
14, 1777, in order to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed thefirst
Flag Act: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union
be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.
THE AMERICAN FLAG IS FOLDED 13 TIMES
On TV or at military funerals, the honor guard pays meticulous
attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 timeswhen it is lowered or when it is folded and handed to the widow at
the burial of a veteran.
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our
ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting
in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur,
"Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge
allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all.
The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed
Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries
of our republic.
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow
of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith,
their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and
daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
The eleventh fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King
Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews' eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians'
eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
The thirteenth fold completes the folded flag and the stars are uppermost reminding
us of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust."
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the
political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal
station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires
that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...
GODLY HERITAGE What Does the Declaration of Independence Really Mean?
This painting shows the signers of the Declaration of Independence
quite literally putting their lives “on the line” at the signing ceremony. Their signatures on the document would
authenticate the charge of treason for any of these men.
It was a bold move that the framers of the Declaration chose to make.
But they were convinced that it was the sole choice that remained for them. Thomas Jefferson was appointed to draft the document,
and it was his task to express the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people after many years of frustration
Because they believed that the British Crown had no right to tax them
so brutally, the “self-evident truths” of which Jefferson spoke were born out of the religious views of the Founding
Fathers – that God is the giver of our human rights, not a king, and that it is His intent that His people enjoy those
rights, including the right to self-government and taxation as well as religious freedom.
In signing the Declaration of Independence, they were genuinely putting
their lives at stake, for any of them could have been captured and tried for treason. But this did not hold them back from
declaring their allegiance to this just cause. John Hancock is said to have signed his name in such large letters that the
King could read it without his spectacles.
As the Declaration was read across the country, it was received with
wild acclaim by many and outright disdain by others. But its words captured the imagination enough to compel the colonists
to endure a long and hard war for independence, once they were provoked by the Boston Massacre and the first shots at Lexington.
Our Founders knew their cause was being helped by God Almighty, and their efforts at independence were in response to His
arm interceding on their behalf.
Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles
of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day
until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather
than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer,
in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue
were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these
representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution
stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.
We the Peopleof the United States, in Order to form a
more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
States of America...
...Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the
States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of
the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,
There are204 unique individuals considered
as "Founding Fathers" in the chart below. These are the people who did one or more of the following:
signed the Declaration of Independence - signed the Articles of Confederation - attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787 -
signed the Constitution of the United States of America - served as Senators
in the First Federal Congress (1789-1791) - served as U.S. Representatives
in the First Federal Congress
The Bill of Rights - The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution,
The sacred rights of mankind are not to be
rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human
nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured
by mortal power.
Alexander Hamilton, 1775
Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to choose a religion, freedom of assembly,
the right to a fair and speedy trial–the ringing phrases that inventory some of Americans' most treasured personal freedoms–were
not initially part of the U.S. Constitution. At the Constitutional Convention, the proposal to include a bill of rights was
considered and defeated. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution as the first ten amendments on December 15, 1791.
Virginia Declaration of Rights
of Rights was drawn upon by Thomas Jefferson for the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. It was widely
copied by the other colonies and became the basis of the Bill of Rights. Written by George Mason, it was adopted by the Virginia
Constitutional Convention on June 12, 1776.
A DECLARATION OF RIGHTSmade
by the representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free convention which rights do pertain to them
and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government...
16.That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of
discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally
entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all
to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.
The Articles of Confederation
TheArticles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly referred to as theArticles
of Confederation, was the firstconstitutionof the thirteenUnited States of America. TheSecond Continental Congressappointed a committee
to draft the 'Articles' in June 1776 and proposed the draft to the States for ratification in November 1777. The ratification
process was completed in March 17.
To all to whom these Presents
shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.
Articles of Confederation and
perpetual Union between the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut,
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
The Stile of this Confederacy
shall be "The United States of America".
Each state retains its sovereignty,
freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated
to the United States, in Congress assembled.
The said States hereby severally
enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their
mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them,
or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever...
...And Whereas it hath pleased
the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve
of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned
delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf
of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation
and perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and
engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress
assembled, on all questions, which by the said Confederation are submitted to them. And that the Articles thereof shall be
inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the Union shall be perpetual.
In Witness whereof we have hereunto
set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the Year of our Lord
One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, and in the Third Year of the independence of America.
"Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to be the lot of one of his creatures in
this world; but that He has very much put it in our power the nearness of our approach to it, is what I have steadfastly believed.
"The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes,
which may greatly afflict us; and to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes should be one
of the principal studies and endeavors of our lives.
"The only method of doing this is to assume a perfect resignation to the Divine will, to consider that
whatever does happen must happen, and that by our uneasiness we cannot prevent the blow before it does fall, but we may add
to its force after it has fallen.
"These considerations, and others such as these, may enable us in some measure to surmount the difficulties
thrown in our way, to bear up with a tolerable degree of patience under this burden of life, and to proceed with a pious and
unshaken resignation till we arrive at our journey's end, when we may deliver up our trust into the hands of Him who gave
it, and receive such reward as to Him shall seem proportionate to our merits."
"..think how great a portion of mankind
consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the
motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes
habitual, which is the great point for its security..."
We have staked the whole of all our political institutions
upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control
ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.' - James
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern
your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?
— I Kings 3:9