Their stand came in the form of a stirring speech made by a once-derelict idler turned passionate orator and lawyer by the name of Patrick Henry.
It came in the form of a group of men called 'Sons of Liberty'.
It came in the form of the Boston Massacre and Gaspee Affair, the Boston Tea Party and the First Continental Congress meeting.
It continued with another rousing speech by Patrick Henry, with the night-time rides through towns alerting townsfolk "The British are coming" by Paul Revere and William Dawes.
It rushed through the seizing of Fort Ticonderoga, the Second Continental Congress meeting, the naming of George Washington as Commander-in-Chief.
All those steps, those decisions, those frightening and amazing days leading up to July 4, 1776, when the colonists rose up and took their freedom. They stood up and declared their independence. It was a day of meaning, a day of passion, a day of fears of reprisal, and a day of truth.
Most people think nothing of what those men and women and children gave up to gain freedom. A freedom we take for granted, a freedom we rarely think about because we have never been without it. We enjoy those freedoms with only a slight pause annually to say "Happy 4th of July" and sit to watch fireworks, eat hot dogs and hamburgers, gather with family.
235 years ago, those men and women and children lived in fear of being massacred in their homes. Of being drug away as prisoners. And yet, they stood and they fought and they won their freedom. They won our freedom.
Today, men and women still stand and fight and keep our freedom safe.
I celebrate our military forces today, the active men and women, the retired men and women, the lost and the fallen. They are our leaders, our radicals, our rebels. They are our "Sons and Daughters of Liberty". They take the steps, make the decisions and live through the frightening and amazing days so everyone else may eat their hot dogs, hug their kids and grandkids and watch fireworks over the ocean or the river or the city.
Sons of Liberty, Daughters of Liberty: Thank you for standing and shouting to the world, "I am proud to be an American. And I will fight to keep this land, these people, this way of life free." Today and everyday, I salute you and your willingness to keep our rights alive, the rights fought for and won so many years ago, the inalienable rights all possess.
"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." (Declaration of Independence, 1776.)
Happy 4th of July!