My dear fellow Americans,
Please join me in wishing a Happy 247th Birthday to our beloved and truly exceptional Country!
This special 4th of July message features Jack Warner's purchase of "The Declaration of Independence" by Edward Hicks, one of Jack's (and America's) favorite primitive, or "folk," artists of the early 19th Century.
It is my hope that this painting will inspire readers to reflect on the history and importance of this event in creating the 1st and only Nation in the world "conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." It is the ideals and values expressed in this revolutionary document that have inspired us over the past 247 years to create a more just and equitable society, to put an end to slavery and other forms of systemic prejudice and racism.... to continue the work needed to create a "more perfect union."
I am often saddened to think of how divided we have become as Americans when our divisions can be so easily resolved. Our perspective in looking at America has become as one of two viewpoints when looking at the same glass of water...is the glass "half full" or "half empty?" It is the same glass of water, but one viewpoint is optimistic, and the other is pessimistic. Will America continue to strive to live up to our high ideals, or is she condemned to failure? Let's examine our history and choose to see the progress that America has made. Let's retain the optimism and patriotism required to continue to progress to fill the glass with more freedom, more justice, and more equity. As our Founders did, reflected in this painting, let us continue with courage to commit to America "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
Susan G. Warner
Chair, Warner Foundation