The Fourth of July is a holiday that many associate with backyard barbecues, dad jokes, and fireworks displays that light skylines across the country. It’s a holiday that sets the summer mood with family and friends.
While it’s wonderful to celebrate with family and friends, many of us forget what the Fourth of July truly means.
On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a document that forever impacted the world as the colonists knew it, but also the world as we know it today.
The men who signed this piece of history knew what the consequences would be, but they still chose to declare the United States an independent nation. The colonists chose adversity and strife for the sake of what they believed was right for our nation. Most of all, they fought for the right of the average man who was grievously overlooked by the English Crown.
This declaration led to the Revolutionary War where almost 31,800 men perished in the struggle for America’s independence from England. Their deaths were not in vain and neither are the lives of the millions of servicemen and women who have served this country.
We are fortunate to live in the beautiful country those men fought to have and to live in a country where we are granted the right to have conflicting ideas. We have the privilege of freedom of the press which protects the media and individuals who criticize the government. We are allowed to vote for our leaders and choose the people who represent our voices, but many countries don’t have these luxuries because they are not considered to be basic rights as they are here.
There are some people who say that we can’t make America great because America was never great, but for someone to have the ability to say that without fear of prosecution is exactly what makes this country great. The United States was founded on the most basic tenets of freedom and was entirely progressive for its day. While many of the original ideals expressed in the U.S. Constitution have expanded and progressed profoundly, there is still work to be done.
While some would love to argue that the current climate of the United States doesn’t allow for liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I find that this country, despite its cracks and broken windows, is the best place to call home.
So while everyone is out today making terrible dad jokes, grilling hot dogs, and playing with sparklers, take a second to really understand the reason you are able to relax and do all of these things in celebration of America the beautiful.
Sacrifice and, “[A]sk not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do your country.”