So, last week one of my sons sent me a quick text to ask if we had any plans for Independence Day…being the goofy kind of person that I am, I replied that we were planning to celebrate July 4th followed by quite a few laughing emojis. I could feel my son’s eye roll from 50 miles away. It was great.
But it also got me to thinking about the significance of July 4th. It is the day that we celebrate when the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were independent, no longer subject to the dictates of King George of England or any other nations for that matter. We were free, united in our desire for independence and freedom to live and work separate from any other country’s dictates. This was huge. The people of this land, revolted from and finally broke from the oppressive rule of what was considered one of the superpowers of the day.
John Adams wrote a letter to his wife with a prediction that was off by two days with the following:
“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
And indeed, we have celebrated what our forefathers began 245 years ago when they signed the Declaration of Independence. We are a fortunate nation. We have many rights and freedoms unheard of in many other nations. We have so much privilege just because we are American. While we also have lots of areas in our nation that don’t work as they should, that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to fix what is broken or not working well. We do that when we engage in our political systems. We can write letters to our representatives…I mean they were voted into office to represent us. We can vote. We can speak out – we live in a free country that gives us the right to free speech…as long as the speech is not hateful and that no one has the right to do. We can worship as we choose. We can live where we want. We can go to school and the list goes on and on with all the freedoms we have and take for granted.
This Sunday, as you celebrate the fourth of July, I pray you take some time to consider why we celebrate. You might even want to read about one of our founding fathers and all they did and endured so we can live in freedom. Or better yet, send a letter to your representative in the congress and senate letting them know what you think should be on their agendas as we work to make our nation a better place to live for all people.