It is amazing to me how many Americans do not know why we celebrate the Fourth of July. To them, it’s all about fireworks and barbecue and beer. It’s sad really…so I thought I would take a minute to remind us all what this day is really about.
In July of 1776, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Williams Livingston drafted the Declaration of Independence to declare our independence from Britain. The declaration was signed by 56 men from 13 states, most notably signed by John Hancock.
Here is a snipet of that declaration (which in my opinion still holds true today…):
“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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Over the years, many songs and poems and things were written to again commemorate the independence that we gained from Britain. One of those songs was written by Francis Scott Key, “The Star Spangled Banner”. This song was written during the War of 1812 while the country again fought to prove our independence from Britain. Francis Scott Key was on a ship off shore when Fort McHenry was attacked. All he could do was watch and wait. When the dust began to clear, he saw that the flag was still standing! And therefore he felt compelled to write,
“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
We are free because we chose to be free. We deemed the rulers and government of Britain to be corrupt and wrong and we chose to get out from underneath that and create a government that would work, that would stand on principles and morals.
Though there is so much that I could say about this in regards to what is happening in our country today, I will save that for another day. I will leave you with this poem that I found and I just love.
A Patriotic Creed
by Edgar Guest