OK that title came from one of my wife’s Facebook friends named Eileen. She is from South Africa but is currently living as an Ex-Pat in the United Arab Emirates. She was wishing her American friends a happy Independence Day. Every country in the world has a July 4, but to a lot of people around the world it is just another day on the calendar. Most people will go about their daily activities, work, school, shopping, and just living life. Not a second thought will they give to this day as it means nothing to them. Some will recognize this day for their friends that live in the United States but it really has not significance to them personally.
Many people in the US will have today off as I have and some (our garbage was picked up this morning) will have to work. This being Friday, Muslims in this country will have their morning prayers. All across the country there will be celebrations ranging from backyard cookouts to community block parties. There will be food and fun and later tonight fireworks displays where those gathered will “ooh” and “ah” to the brilliant explosions. While we revel in the day let’s remember the reason we have an Independence Day. July 4, 1776 was the date officially written on the Declaration of Independence. In this document, Thomas Jefferson listed grievances that the King of England had committed on the 13 colonies. It was not only a list but a decisive announcement that the colonies were breaking away from the British Crown. Think about the gravity of this. Every man who signed this document knew that they were pledging their fortunes, honor, and most importantly their lives for the promise of freedom. Each one knew that they were, in fact, signing a death warrant on themselves. They all knew as soon as they put the ink to the paper they would be branded as traitors by the king. Ask yourself, could you do it? Would you have the courage to sign your name to that document, knowing where it would lead?
Here is another point to ponder. While the Declaration of Independence was in the works, only about a third of the colonist actually supported such a radical move. Most of them believed there could be political solutions and that inciting a war was unwise. The signers of the Declaration knew that all political avenues had been exhausted. These brave men also knew that their small, under trained, and under funded army would have a very uphill battle with the Great British Empire. That did not deter them. The fight was long and hard with many obstacles and setbacks but the colonial army did prevail and the United States of America had cleared the first of many hurdles that the new nation would face.
So on this day, as we celebrate in our different ways, try to remember the sacrifice that these men so nobly offered by a simple signature. Let’s put politics aside and come together as one on the day we all have in common. I don’t care if you are conservative, liberal, or libertarian, black, white, Hispanic, or any other ethnicity or color (if you are blue and not a Smurf you might want to get help), if you were born here or immigrated here and became or becoming a citizen. It doesn’t matter if you are straight, gay, or confused. It isn’t about being Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, or any other religion. Today is not about debate, it is about the fact that because of the event of this day in 1776 that we are free to debate, we are free to speak our minds without fear of the government throwing us in jail, torturing, or even killing us. Today is the day to stand shoulder to shoulder as family because we all share the title “American” and we will be heard in unison “this is our Independence Day and we hold our heads high and proudly say Happy Independence Day”!