While July 4th has become a day for fireworks, cookouts and automobile dealership ‘sales’, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on what it really means, and how it should motivate us.
When the Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men, they declared freedom from what was by far the most powerful country in the world at that time. We were a huge underdog taking on the most powerful armed forces on the planet. Despite the enormous odds against us we won our freedom, and in so doing gave others the confidence to do the same.
Fast forward 236 years (has it really been 36 years since that incredible 200th celebration on the Esplinade with me and 400,000 of my closest friends?) and there are some thoughts that have unfortunately pushed to the side. Let’s not forget why we have our freedom or those that made it possible: from those individuals with their muskets two centuries ago to our fathers and grandfathers who risked or gave their lives in Europe and Japan fifty years ago, to those who volunteer to protect our way of life even today.
Yes, our nation is not a perfect one. We need to continue to avoid the impulse to become complacent. We need to continue to monitor our own leaders and be on the watch for abuse of power. There are certain areas in need of improvement. Still, the concept that all men are born equal with inalienable rights is a profound concept that makes this a nation we should all be proud to be a part of and a concept that we continue to admirably live by today.
The Fourth of July is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in this great nation. It is an opportunity to give thanks to those before us that made it all possible. It is an opportunity to look within and consider what each and every one of us can do in whatever way to improve our community, and in doing so improve our nation.
Please join me in reflecting, remembering and thanking all of those who have served previously and continue to defend or freedoms. Here is to a safe and happy 4th of July to everyone.
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