Jackie Gingrich Cushman

"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," it states. It also notes that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed."

There is great importance in the self-evident truths. First, all men are created equal. That means that we all have equal value at birth. However, it does not say that all men, regardless of whether they work, shall end up equal. We are created equal and given rights by our Creator. We are a nation of believers in God. This provides us with optimism, a belief in the future, and solace and strength in times of crisis.

Our rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are not guaranteed health care, education, houses or even happiness. Our founders acknowledge that life and liberty came from God and that he gave us the ability to pursue happiness, not the guarantee it would be achieved

The Declaration of Independence states that we, the people, have the power, not the government. The government rules with the consent of the governed. However, it is our responsibility as citizens to remind those in government who their bosses are, who holds the power. If they do not remember, then it is our responsibility to replace them with those who understand that the people have the power.

If we are not responsible in carrying out our duties, we lose our freedom.

Our nation has an incredible history. We are a nation of risk-takers, hard workers, lovers of freedom and believers in God.

While we might be pessimistic about the current path our country is taking,

we should be optimistic about our future and remind ourselves that our country has the ability to build on our past and create a bright future. We have the responsibility to remind our government that we, the people, have the power to elect a government that listens to us and responds to us.

As with many things, showing responsibility is the way to keep our freedom. Now, I have to go help my children build a fort.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.