As we prepare for barbecues, carnivals, gatherings and fireworks, it is easy to forget that the independence we enjoy daily was gained through the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers.
Prior to 1776, the 13 colonies were in constant turmoil, as they worked to gather the strength and courage needed to sever ties with the oppressive British motherland. Great Britain supplied the colonies with many needed items, but imposed devastating taxes on the colonies in order to keep the fledgling nation under control.
By 1774, the situation had become so dire that the first Continental Congress was held with the intent to inform the Royal government of our intention to be set free from its grasp. The Declaration of Independence, signed in 1776, was the document that officially established our country as a free nation; however, many battles and many lives were lost, during the fight for our country’s independence.
From the time our country was founded, countless heroes have fought to protect freedoms and values of our founding fathers. Today, many of us take our freedoms for granted, not realizing the price that was paid for us to be an independent nation. “Freedom Isn’t Free” is not just a catchy phrase used on bumper stickers – the meaning of those words ring throughout our rich history and should never be forgotten.
Did you know the treasurer’s office holds nearly $1 billion worth of unclaimed property for Missourians? Each year, financial institutions, businesses, government agencies and other organizations turn over millions of dollars in cash, as well as the contents of nearly 1,000 safe deposit boxes to the treasurer’s office. These groups are required to turn over unclaimed property if there has been no documented transaction or contact with the owner for five years.
One in 10 Missourians has unclaimed property, and the average return is $300. The treasurer’s office strives to return as much of this property to the account owners or proper heirs as possible. As the treasurer’s office holds unclaimed property until the proper owner can be located, you or a family member could have unclaimed property from years and even decades ago.
It is a simple process to check to see if you, or any of your family members have unclaimed property. The list is available, year-round online at https://treasurer.mo.gov/UnclaimedProperty/Main.aspx. Those with unclaimed property can file an online claim or request a paper claim be mailed by visiting www.ShowMeMoney.com. Claims can also be submitted to the treasurer’s office at PO Box 1004, Jefferson City, MO 65102-1004.
It is my hope that you and your families enjoy a happy and safe celebration of Independence Day – and when you see the glare of the fireworks going off in the night sky, take a moment to remember what it all represents.
Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.