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Cancel the 4th? 'The 56' Honors the Declaration of Independence Heroes Who Signed Their Own Death Warrants

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What does July 4th, America's Independence Day mean to you? Is it just another holiday for gathering with family and friends, maybe to enjoy a parade or watch fireworks? 

How about sacrifice? Do you teach your children about those who died fighting the monarchy of Britain so we could have a free and independent country?

American soldiers weren't the only ones who paid a price for freedom. Those who actually signed our Declaration of Independence sacrificed their, "Lives, fortunes, and sacred honor."

Douglas MacKinnon is the author of the book, The 56: Liberty Lessons From Those Who Risked All to Sign the Declaration of Independence. 

On the CBN News Channel program The Global Lane, MacKinnon said the idea to write the book came to him on July 4th, 2021.

"I took a little bit of a tour through some of the more liberal networks out there and I saw guest after guest talking about canceling the 4th of July, canceling our founding fathers, canceling the American flag," he explained. "And so basically, I just picked up my phone that day, called my publisher, and this book was created because of what I believe."

In the book, MacKinnon provides a glimpse of each of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence – who they were and what they risked to put their signatures on a document considered to be treasonous by the British crown.

Most Americans are familiar with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Hancock. But what about some of the lesser-known individuals who signed the document?

MacKinnon said the most important person framed in the book is Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, who was chosen to be chairman of the Committee of Five to draft the Declaration of Independence, but he stepped aside when his wife suddenly became ill.

"He told Jefferson and others at the Continental Congress, 'Don't wait on me.' I've got to get home and take care of my family,' " MacKinnon explained. "And so, Thomas Jefferson actually stepped into the breach and became the person we know. But in many ways, it was Richard Henry Lee who laid the foundation for our liberty."

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And each of the 56 risked everything for American independence. Their signatures on the document brought them hardship, tragedy, and trouble.

"Many of them paid a severe price," MacKinnon said. "A number of them were arrested. A number of them had their homes burned to the ground, their wives arrested, their wives imprisoned, their wives sexually abused, their son was shot."

MacKinnon is concerned about cancel culture. Statues of founding fathers and war heroes have been dismantled across the country and most recently, even a bust of Abraham Lincoln and a copy of his Gettysburg Address were removed from a library display at the Ivy League's Cornell University

"Some people on the far left want to cancel these courageous heroes, the men that actually created the greatest nation on the face of the earth. It all stems from the fact that some people are looking at 1776 through a very clouded and biased 2022 prism," he insisted.

MacKinnon acknowledges that the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were imperfect people who felt that King George had forced their hands – and by declaring American independence, they were responding appropriately to free the colonists from the shackles of British tyranny. 

"Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams said the crown was stepping on the throats of the colonists and squeezing all the air out of them," MacKinnon explained.  "And one of the points I make in the book, too, is I try to also say, look at the tyranny of 1776, it was bad. But in many ways the tyranny of today may be maybe even worse."

And that is why MacKinnon urges people to remember the courageous example and sacrifice of America's founding fathers.

"We should all be out there making sure that they are not canceled, that the 4th of July is not canceled, that the American flag is not smeared," he insisted.

"We have to speak up for ourselves. And the 56 left us the blueprint to do exactly that."

CLICK HERE to watch the full interview with author Douglas MacKinnon and be sure to see The Global Lane on the CBN News Channel. Click here for a complete programming schedule. 

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About The Author

Gary Lane

Mr. Lane currently serves as International News Director and Senior International Correspondent for CBN News. He has traveled to more than 120 countries—many of them restricted nations or areas hostile to Christianity and other minority faiths where he has interviewed persecution victims and has provided video reports and analysis for CBN News. Also, he has provided written stories and has served as a consultant for the Voice of the Martyrs. Gary joined The Christian Broadcasting Network in 1984 as the first full-time Middle East Correspondent for CBN News. Based in Jerusalem, Gary produced