Happy Birthday America. Tomorrow we celebrate 238 years since declaring our independence from Great Britain and established the United States of America. The brave men who sat in Philadelphia during those humid long days of summer hammering out the idea of remaining loyal British subjects or declaring ourselves to being "free and independent states" need to be honored. The tensions were high as the consequences of their actions would be high. They were successful men who had much to lose in the way of property but they also knew that once they affixed their signature to a Declaration of Independence they would be guilty of committing treason against the Crown. Treason was punishable by death upon capture.
They were upset with their government over issues that include unreasonable taxation, government regulations, gun control, heavy-handed laws, national security, and governmental incursion into religion. The colonies were very divided and yet they knew that they had to be united in this action. All in or none in. The Southern Colonists wanted to preserve the institution of slavery which was abhorrent to the Northern Colonists. Little room for compromise; until the body decided that the nation needed to start and, while it could not happen in a perfect way without slavery, many felt that once they got the nation established they could work on the slavery issue.
Frankly, it took too long to resolve that issue but a Civil War later and one part of the issue was settled and slavery was ended. It would take another 100 years for the Civil Rights movement of the 1960 to bring about needed changes and we are getting better. But had the American Revolution not happened, who knows what would have been the outcome on slavery in this part of the world. Once the Declaration was signed we found ourselves at war with the greatest military and navy on the planet. But we were fighting for our freedom and that breathes deeply in the heart of all people. The yearning to be free; to pursue the activities and dreams that each wants to hold.
Tomorrow, we stop our daily routines and gather with friends, families, and neighbors to celebrate being free. It really is simple. People desire the opportunity to do what they want without being dictated to by a government or despot. Thomas Jefferson penned it well with his brilliant writing which has been quoted around the world for these past two centuries by others fighting for their freedom.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
For the first time ever it had been stated that all men had Rights granted by God and that governments were instituted by men to secure these rights. In other words; the people have the power and grant certain powers too those who govern us. As we join at parties, parades, picnics, firework displays, and celebrate being free as John Adams suggested we should do let us remember that freedom isn't free and that; like the militia men, we must be ready at a minutes notice to preserve that freedom for ourselves and our posterity. Many amongst us are Veterans who have stood the watch and staved off the enemies that would tear down what we have. We need to thank them. Many of us have friends and family members who are not able to join us at the celebrations because they stand tomorrow in harm's way protecting us. We need to remember them in our prayers.
We need to remind the children in our lives as well as ourselves what an exceptional nation this is. American ingenuity built the Panama Canal, American ingenuity built the Internet, American ingenuity created a medical system that has helped cure illness around this globe, American ingenuity has created a better life style for billions of folks and America is the nation that made sure the world was saved from Japanese Imperialism and Nazism. Our graves around the world mark a nation that went in as liberators and not conquerors.
We Americans are an interesting bunch. We argue amongst ourselves politically and we seem to be at odds with one another to people around the world. That is the beauty of America. We can argue with one another. We can disagree with our elected leaders. We can live as a free people because we understand the enormous value of living free. Our best days are ahead of us because of the people of this great land. Not our leaders; but the people. We don't understand the concept of "can't". We're free. We are AmeriCANS.