Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Independence Day- Not Happy 4th

"We hold these truths to be self evident..."

Several times this morning, I have heard something that bothers me.   It is not "spin" on particular legislation.  It is not the latest theory of why a Justice voted the way he did.  It is not an interpretation of some obscure policy or Executive Order.
It was being told "Happy 4th of July"
"...that All men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

Over the years, it seems to me that almost every one of our Holidays has lost meaning.   Merry Christmas has been replaced by Happy Holidays in an effort to become more "sensitive" and "politically correct."   Thanksgiving has become less about a day of thanks and time with family and more about looking at the store ads, who is opening when for Black Friday, and what is the plan to make the most of the biggest shopping day of the year.  Memorial Day has ceased to be a day where we remember the fallen, or visit the graves of the departed, and has become "the Official Launch of Summer." 

Unfortunately, as have gone these aforementioned days, so is going Independence Day.
"...that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness..."
Of all Holiday's on the American Calendar, Independence Day is unique.   With Independence Day, no American can complain of "religious" overtones as they do with Christmas and for a few Thanksgiving.   It is not about whether one supports the Troops or necessarily remembering those who gave "the last full measure of devotion."   It is not a day where we celebrate our right to freely assemble and associate ourselves with others like us to demand concessions in the workplace (Labor Day- for those who have forgotten the original intent of that day as well).  Nor is it a day set aside for the celebration of the foundations of Christianity.   

Rather it is the day we set aside to Celebrate the foundation of those Rights that secure our Freedoms to Celebrate or Protest all other Holidays.
"...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the Consent of the Governed..."

Independence Day is just that…the day where we celebrate our Independence.   Recently, a radio show I listen to was talking about the US Citizenship test that immigrants are required to pass before they become citizens and how many natural born Citizens would fail that test.   That conversation caused me to question how many know what it is we celebrate on Independence Day. 
We are not celebrating the beginning of the Revolution- that began in 1775.   We are not celebrating the birth of our Republic as the Republic was not truly formed until the Constitution was ratified in 1789.   We are not even celebrating the founding of our Government, for it can well be argued that our first Government, under the Articles of Confederation, was a dismal failure.  Most shocking of all, we are not even celebrating the day when the Continental Congress voted to Declare Independence from the Crown (John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail after the vote to declare independence,  The second of July 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival”).  New York did not approve the Declaration until July 19, 1776, and the actual signing (for most of the signers) was on August 2, 1776.

We celebrate Independence Day on July 4th because on that day the final wording was approved, and the document was sent to be printed and distributed to We the People.
“…That these united Colonies, are and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States…

Independence Day is about Freedom.  It is about those freedoms which are established in our Constitution and excercised each and every day by each and every one of us, no matter our Political, Religious, or other affiliations.  It is about the hundreds of thousands who shed their blood and gave their lives, to fight for the very freedoms we exercise when we disagree with each other and our Government.  It is about Celebrating the right to express our selves and our differences.  And yes, it is about Celebrating the Freedom to say, “Happy 4th of July” instead of “Happy Independence Day.”

Gone are the days where Independence Day was celebrated by the whole town, gathering in the square, listening to a reading of the Declaration of Independence and firing the brass cannon in front of the court house.   But the reason for our celebrations remain, the right to be Free and Independent. 

So the next time someone wishes a “Happy 4th,” reply, “Happy Independence Day”
“…for support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Devine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes , and our sacred Honor.”



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