“Looking back and being aware of where our freedom was born through the actions of the brave men who risked their lives and treasure to sign the Declaration of Independence is an important part of preserving that freedom”, said Kendal Hemphill as he began speaking to the Mason Bluebonnet Study Club on February 20. In observance of President’s Day, Hemphill who usually approaches any subject with humor, was very serious about his subject, presenting a patriotic and inspiring program about not only the very beginning of our freedom and the signers of the Declaration of Independence but also about the brave soldiers who have defended that freedom over the years.Hemphill began by telling the group that the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson, edited by the first Continental Congress, and adopted on July 4, 1776. Fifty-six men decided that independence from Great Britain was worth risking their very lives and everything that they owned to sign the Declaration of Independence. By doing so, they were committing treason which was punishable by death by hanging. Hemphill noted that all of us sign our name to papers several times a day without much concern of the consequences. Because 56 men signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, the greatest nation the world has ever known was born.Hemphill told about some prisoners of war during the Vietnamese War who even though they were constantly tortured and watched closely were able to make an American Flag from a scrap of cloth using various bits of scraps accumulated over time to form the stars and stripes. When the flag was found by guards and destroyed, prisoners were tortured and beaten. The next day, the prisoners began to make another flag because it represented to them everything that they fought to preserve.Another story told by Hemphill was about a Vietnamese man who sought refuge in the United States and had over many years managed to become a U.S. citizen. Quoting from a speech by this new citizen, he said that those who are born in freedom take it for granted and that his heart swells with pride when he sings “The Star Spangled Banner” and salutes the stars and stripes.Summing up, Mr. Hemphill said that maintaining our freedom which began with a small group of brave men who risked everything is the responsibility of each of us. Small groups of people can accomplish great things by working together to make a difference.After concluding his remarks, Mr. Hemphill autographed copies of his book entitled “The Buck Never Got Here”.Attending the meeting were Miley Gibbs, Betty Deans, Fae Danz, Carmen Griffith, Mary Carlman, Mary Hemphill, Tanya Lamoreaux, Mary Ellen Merkel, Betty Meyer, Sabin Nelson, and Mary Donley.