Saturday, July 3, 2021

The Reason We Celebrate July 4



July 4! A national holiday here in the United States, but, like so many of our holidays, few Americans seem to understand its true import. Why do we celebrate that particular day? Should we even care? Is it important for us, as a nation, to know?

Setting aside the fact that the actual holiday should be July 2, we will settle on the date that has been celebrated for these many years. July 4 is INDEPENDENCE DAY! We are not celebrating a date, we are celebrating an action, a decision, a momentous deed in the history of man, which created a new nation to join the pantheon of nations already on this planet. This was no easy decision, as it would mean people who sought to be free, INDEPENDENT, would be placed on the king's list of terrorists, radicals, and traitors. People who were to be hanged if caught, per the king's orders. This meant there would be fighting, a war for liberty from a tyrant. People would die and suffer, as they fought against those who had previously been their fellow countrymen, or more accurately said, their fellow subjects. Many of our contemporary American citizens will rail against the Founders, as being nothing more than "rich white men," They have not been taught, thanks to our public school system, that those men who signed the Declaration of Independence did so knowing that they were now "marked men." Many of these "rich white men" would lose everything as a result. Others would be on the run for years, seeking to stay one step ahead of the king's soldiers. Others died poor, the health of many suffered and they never recovered, they all suffered losses and pain that you, hopefully, will never know. They did all that knowingly, but in an effort to create a land of independent citizens, something their progeny could benefit from in the coming years.

The Declaration of Independence was the document that stated to the rest of the world that the former British colonies were now the United States of America. A separate and sovereign nation, answerable to no king or tyrant. A grand experiment that had never before been tried by a collective of humans that numerous, covering so much territory. An experiment of self-government, a government of the people, a government whose power, such as it was, was given by the CONSENT of the people, not by the divine right of kings. Have we been true to that experiment? Have we succeeded or failed? Do we need yet more time? These are all questions worthy of consideration, but while we consider them let us not forget why we are here and how we got here.

 Yes, mistakes have been made along the way. There are blemishes aplenty that we can discuss and LEARN FROM. But there have also been many good things that have come of it. The freedom to learn from those mistakes and to peacefully evolve, to become better people and a better nation. I think too many forget that as a nation we are still infants compared to the rest of the world. Look how much good this infant has done. No race of people in the history of the world has evolved quicker and done more good than these United States. What a shame there are so many who choose to overlook those accomplishments and focus only on the missteps. So, on July 4 every year we celebrate our Independence, our freedom. We must remain ever vigilant against those who seek to strip us, as citizens and as a nation, of that Independence and freedom, as they are out there and they don't rest.

 As for me, I will remember why we celebrate this day, and I will remain thankful for those prescient men and women who saw what a future of Independence could be and sought to make it so. No, America is not perfect and there is much work yet to be done, but there's nowhere else I'd rather be.