American Independence Day

What will you be doing this 4th of July?  We have all participated in 4th of July celebrations.  Barbeques, baseball, fireworks, friends, family, picnics, and concerts are all part of the fray, but what is it we celebrate?  Why do we, as a nation, spare no effort to participate in the annual summer time activities?  What drives us to be a part of this phenomenon we simply call the 4th of July, or American Independence Day?

I thought about the meaning of our Independence Day after seeing a television advertisement for an Independence Day Sale, and decided I would attempt to share with you what American Independence Day means to me.

I do so with the meekest of expectations.  I only hope that I will cause you to question your own motivations, and possibly make you think about it while you watch the fireworks light up the sky in a brilliant display of patriotism.  And if those thoughts cause your blood to boil and your heart to swell with pride, your eyes to leak, or your mood to somber, or give you a lump in your throat that cannot be swallowed back and causes your voice to squeak, then you will begin to understand what I feel every summer, on July 4th.

While traveling to Philadelphia, on his way to represent Massachusetts in Congress, John Adams, the man I consider the architect of our nation, made a little note.  It was a short list of things he wanted to accomplish which consisted of; creating alliances with France and Spain, cause each colony to assume their own governance and produce their own gunpowder, and adopt a “Declaration of Independency”.

Later, the ever tenacious John Adams was tasked along with four other delegates, known as the “Committee of Five”, to draft a Declaration of our Independence from Britain; he was joined by Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman, the elder and reasoned Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, who was ultimately designated as the writer of the document.  The committee debated vigorously regarding what the official reasons the thirteen colonies would cite for declaring independence from Britain.

Later, the ever tenacious John Adams was tasked along with four other delegates, known as the “Committee of Five”, to draft a Declaration of our Independence from Britain; he was joined by Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman, the elder and reasoned Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, who was ultimately designated as the writer of the document.  The committee debated vigorously regarding what the official reasons the thirteen colonies would cite for declaring independence from Britain.

With the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, America was born.  Though individually proud of what they instigated, I seriously doubt that day was met with elated celebration.  You must understand that those who signed the declaration were guilty, in the eyes of Britain, of treason, and were immediately “wanted”, and if caught would face imprisonment and the possibility of execution.  However, I can imagine they each smiled inwardly at the vision they each foresaw for posterity.

I believe that although they placed their entire existence in jeopardy, they had faith that our new nation would succeed, and therefore considered the risk a calculated one.  The Founders believed in individual freedom and liberty, self-governance and personal responsibility.  They felt so strongly about the Declaration of Independence, they pledged to each other their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor, to the protection of Divine Providence.

The Founders risked everything, and sacrificed greatly for the idealism represented in the Declaration of Independence.  Patriots stepped forward, volunteering not only to fight the tyrannical British ruler, but ultimately to defend the ideology of liberty, justice, and freedom.  Those who fought and died for the birth of this country, did so willingly, just as each and every other American who has done so since.  Every one of them have contributed to the mutual struggle for a just nation of independence, liberty, and freedom.

It amazes me to look at America today, and think that it all began, in a way, with a little note consisting of four items, and a vision.  My amazement is compounded when I consider the lack of initial support for declaring our independence.  John Adams observed that the public consisted of one-third Tories, or those loyal to Britain, one-third timid, and one-third true blue.  Yet with a little help from Samuel Adams and his grassroots group called the “Sons of Liberty”, freedom and independence prevailed.

What does American Independence Day mean to me?  It is the one day, of every year, that I stand with my fellow patriots and proclaim to the world,

“I AM AN AMERICAN!    WE ARE AMERICA!

AND, WE ARE PROUD OF IT!”

It is the one day that we all stand up, and declare that America is an exceptional nation, consisting of exceptional people, with an exceptional way of living.   With the celebratory report of each skyward explosion, we offer a dazzling announcement that we are a nation with standards, heads and shoulders above those of the rest of the world, for which we will NOT apologize.

Yes, this is my country.  I would gladly stand shoulder to shoulder, with my fellow Americans, against all odds, to defend this land and the liberty and freedom represented here, with absolute ferocity and determination, and if need be, die for it, like those who already have.  I believe America truly is the greatest nation in the history of man, and that we are individually fortunate to be part of it.

And, to all those that criticize our nation, THANK US first.  For there is not a nation on earth that has not felt the positive effects of America.  We have liberated the oppressed, saved the defeated, protected the assaulted, and established the unrecognized throughout the world.  Think about where the world would be, if not for the United States of America, and the selfless, heroic, compassion we have habitually displayed.

That is what I celebrate on American Independence Day.  So before you bite into that hot dog or hamburger, before you dig into the potato salad or apple pie, before you take the first pitch of that traditional baseball game; take a moment to give some thought of what it is you are celebrating.  I think those who risked everything they had, those who paid with their blood and sacrificed their lives, to give you the opportunity to live the American Experience, deserve that much.

Happy American Independence Day!

And, Happy Birthday America!

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