We rarely say, “Happy Independence Day!” Any greetings around this time usually go something like this: “Happy 4th!” “Are you going to the lake for the 4th?” “Will you be traveling for the 4th?”
I am afraid many children, and adults for that matter, likely do not know, or have forgotten, what the 4th of July is all about. It is isn’t about fireworks and parades, hotdogs and hamburgers, boating and swimming. And, yet, it is.
The reason we do all these things on the 4th of July is because we can. We can because someone had the foresight to fight for the freedom for us to do this very thing. Someone had the selflessness to risk their own fortunes and their very lives so we can.
We celebrate in these ways because we are saying, “We won!” We won the freedom to use our own skills and abilities to generate commerce that is not taxed by a State that gives us no representation.
We celebrate in these ways because we won the freedom to practice our religion in our manner without the State dictating how we must practice.
We celebrate in these ways because while we are not a perfect union, we are a “More Perfect Union,” which brings a cornucopia of nationalities together to live and thrive, to give voices to everyone, voting rights to every adult citizen, and the ability to help not only the persons in our nation, but literally every other nation in the world.
Yeah, we have a mess. We have so many things that need fixing. I personally would like to fire every elected official in Washington, minus a couple. My thoughts are to send a mom in there for a few days to clean things up since they are all acting like a bunch of junior high kids.
The point I want to bring us back to though is, we have rights and privileges and wealth that almost all other people are earth dream of having, and we need to be thankful today and everyday. So while you are out there eating your hotdog on your boat and seeing the fireworks on the shore, don’t forget why you can do this. Someone, actually thousands of someones, paid dearly for you to celebrate today.
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
—John Adams to his wife Abigail on the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Dated July 3, 1776