Service To And Sacrifice For The Greater Good Key To Independence Day 

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Welcome back to The Sunstone Way, and Happy Independence Day! 

Like many Americans, the Keisler Fourth of July will be filled with parades, barbecue, likely a baseball game, and fireworks. But I’ll surely spend some time thinking about what it took — and continues to take — to become the United States of America. 

As a former history teacher, the events leading up to the Revolutionary War and the struggles to create a brand-new country from scratch have always been fascinating to me. And for all the emphasis we put on individual liberty, the point that stands out to me is the sacrifice and dedication to service for others it took to make America a reality. 

Leaving The Farm 

The American colonies of the mid-18th Century were primarily agricultural, and many of the Founding Fathers were primarily rich farmers. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were large landowners, with mansions at Mount Vernon and Montecello, respectively. James Madison also made his living on his plantation, Montpelier

Other Founding Fathers were merchants, lawyers, traders and, in Benjamin Franklin’s case, a printer with multiple other enterprises. With the exception of Alexander Hamilton, the main Founding Fathers were considered rich. 

Yet they all set their businesses aside when the American people needed them. Washington was the leader by example. From the time he took command of the Continental Army on June 15, 1775, until the capture of Cornwallis on Oct. 19, 1781, he spend only 10 days at his Mount Vernon plantation in Virginia. That type of sacrifice for the greater good proved inspiring to those around him. 

Thomas Jefferson was more of a scholar. His library at Montecello was his pride and joy. Yet he stepped away when called to serve his country in many ways, starting with writing the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate today. 

In The Face Of Danger 

These Founding Fathers gathered in the midst of war to publicly declare independence from Great Britian and King George III – an act that could only be considered treason from the King’s point of few. They were risking not only the seizure of their property but their very lives should the British prevail. 

What could prompt that sort of extreme risk-taking? Simply put, they were sacrificing themselves for the greater good. They were willing to put the needs of their country ahead of their own well-being. 

In today’s parlance, the Founding Fathers owned the concept of a free United States, putting their and their loved ones’ comfort and safety on the line for the greater good. I find that level of sacrifice and service awe-inspiring – and more than a little scary. 

A Guiding Principle 

An expectation of service and sacrifice for the greater good is woven into the fabric of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. To be sure, freedoms and liberties are promised there. But the tradeoff, both implied and specifically stated, is to work for the greater good through service and sacrifice. 

Here is the last sentence in the Declaration of Independence: 

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” 

Service for the greater good doesn’t get any clearer than that. And that’s The Sunstone Way! 

As always, remember to be a Sunstone! 

John Keisler 

CEO & Managing Partner 

Sunstone Management, Inc. 

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©Sunstone Management, Inc. 2024 

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