Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? 5 signers where captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. 12 had their homes ransacked and burned. 2 lost their sons who served in the Revolutionary Army,another had 2 sons captured. 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. They signed and pledged their lives,their fortunes,and their sacred honor. 24 were lawyers and jurists. 11 were merchants, 9 were farmers and plantation owners, men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas Mckeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals and soldiers looted the properities of Dillery,Hall,Clymer,Walton,Gwinnett, Heyward,Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washinton to open fire on his own home. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properites destroyed. The British jailed his wife and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wifes bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed rabble rousing ruffians. They were men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall,straight, and unwavering they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" They gave you a free and independent America. Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't . So take a few minutes and silently thank those patriots that gave so much. It's not to much to ask for the price they paid. Remember: FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE! God bless America and all my friends on this forum!