It's a day early, but I wanted to wish you a Happy Independence Day. Not a "Happy Fourth of July." Not a "Happy 4th." Happy Independence Day.
It bothers me that we've gotten so far away from the real reason we have Wednesday off: our independence from England. These days we're pretty chummy, but on July 4, 1776, things were a bit dicier. Most people here just wanted to get along with England and were willing to put up with their whims, no matter how outrageous, just to avoid trouble. But there were a handful of men who dreamed of something better and weren't afraid to risk it all to reach for it. Their efforts and drive defied the odds, a superior fighting force, and more than a few of their fellow countrymen willing to sell them out to the Brits, all in an attempt to bring freedom here.
Really puts Independence Day into perspective, doesn't it? Somehow, a barbeque, some fireworks, and red, white, and blue paper napkins doesn't due the Founding Fathers justice. But, we've reduced it to that pretty much. When we do that, we water down the contributions of those men who took a major chance to establish freedom and turn back tyranny. It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it's through their strife that we enjoy the freedoms we have today, freedoms we far too often take for granted. We owe it to the Founding Fathers to remember the hardships and pitfalls they endured to establish this great nation and the audacity it took to write or support the following words that established a nation and shook the world forever:
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.
Happy Independence Day.