Independence Day is all about America’s freedom

Published 10:57 am Friday, June 30, 2023

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July 4th is Tuesday, and for most Americans it is a holiday – a day to not only celebrate our freedom as Americans, but a day to celebrate summer.
For all our differences, individually, politically, socially, culturally, and otherwise, we have one very special blessing in common: We are all Americans.
Yes, politicians and we as voters often squabble. And, we tend to get things wrong about as often as we get them right. Neither Republicans or Democrats get it right all the time. Deep down, though, we also realize that as Americans, we are at our best when we come together to meet major moments, such as 9-11 and World War II. We did at the founding of this nation and we have done it throughout our history, to ensure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and for future generations.
Tuesday, we will mark 247 years of American independence, rooted in the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia. We were not yet the United States back then. We were just 13 colonies fighting against British redcoats.
What we did have were folks like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, who drafted a formal statement of independence on behalf of the 13 united colonies that, after telling Great Britain that we were through with them, included these words:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We learned about these words as schoolchildren. But two-and-a-half centuries after they were written, we are still working at perfecting them. This is the original continuous improvement mission statement that challenges us, as a nation, to keep living up to these lofty ideals.
They are just words written a long time ago that underpin everything our nation stands for. Yet those words are what our valiant men and women in uniform have fought and died for ever since. Those words drive the best of us to serve, to help, in any number of ways.
A few years after the Declaration, after colonists improbably defeated the world’s mightiest military, we adopted a Constitution that we still wage mighty battles over. Our nation, states, cities and towns have passed libraries worth of laws and codes that seek to strike a balance between one person’s liberty and another person’s harm.
Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we don’t. But, as Americans, we must never forget the beginnings of our freedom, and we are free today because brave men and women ever since the American Revolutionary have fought to keep us free. That is what July 4th is all about.

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