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His Spirit Lives On

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This post was written by Robert A. Kearse on December 6, 2013


The Origin Of
“We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident. . . .”

The Origin Of “We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident. . . .”

The opening words from the second paragraph of The United States Declaration Of Independence still resonate around the world:

Many people are unaware, however, that Thomas Jefferson’s glowing words are based upon George Mason’s declaration of rights and principles for the State Of Virginia:

First, a little quick background info for those who are not familiar with American history.

America started out as 13 colonies, each independent of each other but all governed by England.

Serious political disputes with England over several decades culminated in a Declaration of Independence from England by the Second Continental Congress (the body formed by the colonies to coordinate their efforts) in 1776.

An armed conflict, the American Revolutionary War had started in 1775 and would not formally end until 1783.

Also, the Continental Congress urged the colonies to create their own state constitutions, because there was an absence of government, since British law was no longer recognized.

The Continental Congress asked Thomas Jefferson to prepare a draft for a Declaration of Independence for the United States.

The Virginia Convention asked George Mason “to draft a declaration of rights and principles of government for Virginia”.

Mason’s draft was reviewed and approved by a small committee at the Virginia Convention.

The draft was then “circulated among the delegates in preparation for a discussion that began on May 29, 1776.

It was made public and circulated so widely through the colonies that it became the model for several state constitutions”.

George Mason’s draft was not popular at the Virginia Convention.

The specific wording “all men are born equally free and independent and have certain inherent natural rights of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity” was a direct threat to the institution of slavery and so was revised at the Virginia Convention.

Thomas Jefferson, a native of Virginia, followed the developments at the Virginia Convention closely since George Mason’s draft preceded Jefferson’s efforts.

The political genius of Thomas Jefferson was such that he was able to transform George Mason’s language into a form that was acceptable to the southern slave holding states (slavery was still legal in all 13 colonies by the way).

All men are created equal replaced “all men are born equally free and independent”.

George Mason’s “inherent natural rights” became transformed by Thomas Jefferson so that “the unalienable Rights” came not from birth but were “endowed by their Creator”.

The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, so that date is recognized as the birth of our nation, and July 4th is a national holiday known as Independence Day.

A fascinating analysis of the creation of the Declaration Of Independence is available within the outstanding scholarly work, Slave Nation by Alfred W. Blumrosen and Ruth G. Blumrosen.



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The Healing Process From The 9/11 Attack

The Healing Process From The 9/11 Attack

Ground Zero
Memorial Pool

Every country has a collective consciousness and a collective memory.

I still remember vividly how I first heard of the 9/11 attack.

I was asleep here in Las Vegas where I live, and was awakened by a call from my daughter, Kassandra.

She was born in New York City, but was living in Washington D.C., after graduating from the University of Maryland.

She had seen TV accounts of the attack and had tried to call my sister, who lived and worked in NYC.

In fact, at the time my sister was still active as a full time federal judge (2nd Circuit Court of Appeals), and the courthouse was only a half dozen blocks from the World Trade Center.

Kassandra efforts to call my sister were futile, because the telephone lines were jammed, and she could not complete any call.

I had some anxiety that perhaps my sister had some reason to stop at the World Trade Center that morning.

Immediately I got on the phone, and after about 45 minutes of trying I reached my sister at home.

She indicated that all judges and staff had been sent home from the courthouse and the building closed.

So that was a big relief to find out that my sister was safe.

In the meantime, both towers had collapsed, and the personal sense of relief was replaced by some sense of rage at all the innocent lives lost.

I did not immediately realize that it would number nearly 3 thousand dead.


Somehow, the above image has replaced in my memory and consciousness the scenes of desolation and destruction that resulted from the twin towers collapse.

It seems as though 9/11 left some deep seated wound in America’s collective consciousness and collective memory.

But I feel that with the completion of the ground zero memorial and the near completion of 1 World Trade Center the wound has nearly healed (but never completely).

What do you think??


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Deep Thoughts On The
Memory And Meaning Of 9/11

Deep Thoughts On The Memory And Meaning Of 9/11


A Short Personal Story

I got married to my late wife, Susan Legardy Kearse, In New York City, and we had our wedding reception on the 108th floor of 2 World Trade Center.

Six years later the terrorist act of September 11, 2001 wiped out part of my personal history.

The loss I suffered, however, is trivial compared to the loss, agony, and pain suffered by the families whose relatives died in that tragedy.

Susan passed away suddenly on June 1, 1993 at the age of 42 so I know the feeling family members experienced at the sudden loss of their loved ones due to the 9/11 tragedy.

You suffer a wound that never, ever heals completely.

Familiar Territory

Since I worked as a financial consultant on Wall Street for a number of years, I had commuted to work hundreds of times ending at 1 World Trade Center, either by subway or commuter train from New Jersey.

I knew that there were 5 or 6 underground levels to the World Trade Center Complex (including at least 3 underground parking garages).

I remember many times playing backgammon in the park diagonally across the street from 1 World Trade Center during lunch hour.

The Hope For Survivors

I remember being glued to the TV following the news as rescuers searched through the rubble.

I had a profound hope that workers could access the World Trade center site from underneath through the subway or commuter train tunnels and perhaps find survivors.

As the days and weeks went by and that hope diminished, it was deeply depressing to me. (It turns out the tunnels were flooded.)

No Desire To Return

I was living in Las Vegas at the time of the attack and still live here.

I have been back to the east coast a number of times since 9/11 but have no desire to see the site as is (another wound that has not healed).

Egomania Versus Ideological Extremism

In the final analysis this tragic event may have been caused more by egomania than by ideological extremism.

bin Laden was one of the few egomaniacs to have a personal fortune in excess of $200 miliion dollars (US), and a willingness to use it for extreme objectives.

So I think the assessment that Islamic fundamentalism was the dominant factor in this whole historic equation is entirely simplistic.

Where Is the Justice?

No matter what your assessment of America’s moral standing in the world, where is the justice in 2973 innocent people losing their lives (including hundreds of non Americans from more than 90 countries) due to this act of terrorism??

America’s Collective Consciousness

All countries have a collective consciousness and a collective memory.

Certainly, 9/11 is seared into America’s collective memory, perhaps forever.

But the collective consciousness of America is still as strong, resilient, and positive as it ever was.

God bless America.


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