Across Texas Tuesday, defense attorneys are paying homage to the Declaration of Independence by reading it on their local courthouse steps.
"The Declaration of Independence symbolizes both the birth of our country and the constant struggle to achieve its ideals," said attorney Janie Martin, President of the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Board of Directors.
Standing in front of the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas Tuesday, people payed respect by reading aloud the declaration that helped form our nation — proclaiming in 1776 that the 13 American colonies were no longer under British rule.
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Thomas Jefferson wrote the 458 words of the Declaration of Independence, including the most famous. "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," read Clifford Duke, former president of the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
Duke was one of around 50 people at the Dallas event who helped read.
"This was started by a small group of lawyers down in Houston, criminal defense lawyers, and they came up with the idea that we should remember what the Fourth of July really is about," said defense attorney George Milner.
Milner said the idea caught on and on July 3 at 12 p.m., attorneys in all 254 Texas counties read the declaration together in their respective towns.
"And it became sort of an interesting thing to hear criminal defense lawyers who fight for these words in a court room stand up and read them," Milner said.
Bearing the heat, they paid tribute to how our nation began.
"And we want to do it just to simply remember for a moment and come together as one nation, despite political differences," Milner said. "On this occasion come together to be one nation and remember the exact reason that we celebrate this day and the exact document that began this nation."