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I Declare!


A while back, we went to see an original transcription of the Declaration of Independence that was on display at the Utah State Capitol. The line was long, but it was one of the most worthwhile experiences that I have ever had.

Those who have been to the capitol will have an idea of how big the main floor is, but I'll try to do it justice. The declaration was in the center of an open, circular foyer, which connects the two wings of the main floor. The wings lead to the Office of the Governor, the Gold Room, and several other rooms, giving the patient spectators something to gaze at and talk about while they waited for their turn.

The line was long. It began at the northwest corner of the main floor and wrapped all the way around to the center foyer where the declaration patiently waited.

It took about 2 hours to get to the front of the line, and I to this day do not understand how my beautiful wife kept our two twin babies entertained, fed, clean, and happy nearly the entire time.

Once we got into the circular foyer, Remi's eyes rolled upwards to the 100-foot-high hemispherical ceiling with beautiful hand-painted murals of the Mormon Pioneers, California Gulls, and more.

Once the people just ahead of us got their turn, I began to tense up. How can I make this moment special for my boys? How could I possibly begin to impress upon them the value of this document and what it represented? What if they touch the glass with their oily hands?

Then, our turn arrived. We handed our camera to someone and took pictures.

I picked up each boy and showed them the Declaration of Independence. I started to read it to Remi:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator..."

I couldn't continue. I choked up, and just held him there for a moment while I said something stupid like "Isn't that wonderful, Remi?"

I wanted to stay there for a long time and picture each signer putting the quill to the paper. I wanted to feel the emotion that might have flowed through their breasts that testified of the enormity of what they were starting. I wanted Remi to feel that, too.

After remembering that everyone behind me had also been waiting for 2 hours, I put Remi down, picked Zac up, made a less emotionally-charged endeavor with him, and we gave our leave.

My heart was on fire for the next several hours with gratitude for these fine men and their courage to do what was right. It is a debt that I don't believe I will ever be able to repay.

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