Col. Benjamin Harrison of Virginia was one of the signers of that Declaration of Independence, which we remember as our nation’s birth certificate, 226 years ago.

Col. Harrison was also the father of one president of the United States: Gen. William Henry Harrison – as well as being great grandfather of another president, his namesake Benjamin Harrison.

That every one of the 56 Founding Fathers risked his life in standing for our treasured independence is seen not only in Benjamin Franklin’s classic: “We had better hang together, or we will hang separately,” but also in a plaque I found in Col. Harrison’s ancestral home on Virginia’s James River:

By signing the Declaration of Independence, the 56 Americans pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

This was no idle pledge.

  • Seventeen of them lost everything they owned.

  • Twelve of them had their homes burned.

  • Five of them were captured or imprisoned.

  • Nine of them died of wounds in the war.

  • Not one of the 56 defected.

Their honor, like their nation, remained intact.

For them, and for Gen. Washington’s first United States Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, on this national birthday, I say, “Thanks Be To God!”

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