When you think of the Fourth of July, what do you think about? Is it hot dogs and hamburgers, music, fireworks? Is it taking the day off from work, watching sports on TV, throwing back a few cold ones? Or is it something much more important?
Hardly anyone I know calls the 4th of July Independence Day any more. I realize it’s easier to say “Fourth of July” than it is to say “Independence Day.” (Fewer syllables? Rolls off the tongue better? Who knows…) I am just as guilty as anyone of using the shortcut most of the time. As we approach the anniversary of the adopting of the Declaration of Independence, I want to take some time to remind myself and others as to the significance of this day.
The signing of the Declaration of Independence from England was considered an act of treason by the Crown. The 56 men who signed this document knew they were putting their lives and their livelihoods at risk .They also knew they were putting the lives of their families and communities in jeopardy. But they moved forward with it, knowing that the time had come to sever governmental ties to a country they had found less and less in common with, but who was still regulating and taxing them. They put forth “the proposition that all men are created equal,” and that they had been granted “inalienable rights” to live their lives free from the tyranny of King George.
The British Empire was a dominating force in the world at that time, and it was folly to consider such a bold move against the status quo. Indeed, many fellow colonists preferred to stay part of Britain, for both economic and political reasons. (Sound familiar?) Britain, of course, didn’t take this lying down, and war commenced.
Upon Britain’s surrender, the great experiment of the United States truly began. But none of this would have happened without the bold move of those 56 men in July of 1776.
So please take a moment this 4th to think about the real meaning of the day, and educate those who would diminish its meaning.