Tomorrow I plan to be sitting in a parking lot, surround by a crowd of people, enveloped in a cloud of bug spray and a sea of lawn chairs. Tomorrow I plan to walk in a parade, listen to music, watch fireworks, and celebrate July Fourth. This is not a day grounded in some flippant summer celebration, it’s one based in a purpose. In the midst of these wonderful lawn chaired crowds having fun, it is easy to forget the purpose behind the celebration. So, I want to pause with my celebratory activities for a moment to remember those founders of what would become the United States of America.
Volumes of information have been written on those who started with a dream and a hypothetical situation. We now celebrate the reality of what was the hypothetical, the blessing that came of the sacrifice. These are the founders that defied the British government by forming a new government. It is also the time to remember the founders made of farmers, towns-people, craftsman, merchants, and the future citizens of the country. It is a time to remember that this is the celebration of a war fought, a war won. It is a celebration to remember the sacrifices of those who crafted our founding documents, searching their minds and hearts of such words as “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and the Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” The words, such as “May it be to the world, what I believe it will be ... the signal of arousing men to burst the chains ... and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. ... For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them." Words of power, strength, and purpose reflect an awareness of the importance of events that were at the heart of them.
The words, the actions that made them more than empty words, still ring with purpose and validity today. The words and actions were those of dreams, sacrifice, and putting the effort to change the hypothetical into the new reality. We can still pull national strength from these efforts, as we face new dreams, and make new sacrifices. I challenge each of us in the USA to realize that effective citizenship in such a place demands an awareness and continual seeking for future growth.
Happy Independence Day!