In Case You’ve Forgotten

Just In Case You’ve Forgotten


Leonard Zwelling

is, of course, a very special day on the American calendar. Although it is
seemingly a day about hot dogs, fireworks and mattress sales, it is the
celebration of the birth of the United States in 1776 as determined by the
Declaration of Independence. Of course, you know that.

the New York Times and the Houston Chronicle have reprinted the entire text of
this courageously worded document. With all the importance we give it, we
sometimes forget that it does not have the force of law. It is not our
Constitution and it is not even our areligious Bible held in common by those of
all faiths or no faith. It is a howl of protest about no longer tenable
conditions forced upon the Colonies by the English. As it says, upfront, it’s
an explanation for itself. It is a plaint to the King about “injuries and
usurpations” and the “establishment of absolute Tyranny”.


every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most
humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated

have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured
them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which,
would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence”.

finally, my favorite part:

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”.

we all know what would have happened to these men if they had been the losers
some of us here at Anderson have been purported to be. They would have hanged.
As the second link I have pasted below from today’s NY Times will show, some
very powerful and well-to-do men paid heavily for having signed this document.

have asked before and will again, that while these people gave it all and more,
what are we prepared to do in response to the “repeated Petitions…answered only
by repeated injury”? Haven’t our “connections and correspondence” been
sufficiently “interrupted” yet so we should do something? Apparently not. Look
what these folks were willing to bet and do so in a united way. They knew what
the costs of defeat were. And, as the Times’ article shows, even in victory the
cost was very high.

today, read the first link. It’s the Declaration of Independence. Read the
second link and see what some wealthy men gave up for your rights and mine.
This country was not brought into being by the weak or tentative. These guys
were not bullied. And these guys, thank goodness, were not losers! They were
winners. Don’t we owe them something? MD Anderson does not cotton losers. Our patients, our colleagues, our staffs and our families expect that we act like winners. Now more than ever. Let’s win.

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