Happy (almost) 4th of July!
In modern-day America, Independence Day is a wonderful time to enjoy a long weekend chock-full of burgers and hot dogs on the grill, beer, sunshine, music, boats, fireworks, bonfires, friends, and family. Of course, these are all fantastic and also grant us much needed rest and relaxation from the mental stresses of daily, routine life.
But Independence Day is about much more than carefree days on the lake. We know the history – that on July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States – but how often do we truly consider how blessed we are to live in a free country such as these United States?
According to many we can remember five major reasons to add to the happiness of their 4th of July commemoration. These reasons give greater meaning and depth to our favorite summer celebration.
Gratefulness for the first part of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all 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.” And that the founders incorporated those principles into civil government”.
Gratitude for Religious Freedom: America offers people the freedom to worship as they choose, without fear of being killed or arrested or shut down. More than a quarter of the world’s nations restrict or prohibit the practice of religion, but in the U.S., we are free to be open about our faith. We need to be thankful for that!
Appreciation for Those Who Defend Our Freedom: Millions of people have served our country and defended our freedom, and some have even given their lives for the sake of all of us. We must thankful and celebrate all the military personnel, past and present and future, and for their families who have also sacrificed so much.
Thanksgiving for the Opportunity to Participate in Government: We should be grateful to to our country’s founding fathers and leaders that we have the opportunity to be involved in the democratic process. We can vote, get involved in issues we care about, and run for office. We must respect our leaders. Our voice matters.
Thankfulness for Peace with Family, Neighbors, and Friends: Overall, our nation is a nation of peace and safety. We do not encounter civil unrest and threats on our lives on a regular or daily basis like some peoples around the world do. We must express gratefulness and continue to strive for peace and an end to violence.
As we put our 4th of July celebration into perspective of what we really are celebrating, the day becomes much more meaningful – and even those carefree days on the lake can be a little opportunity for some reflection on how blessed we are to live in the United States of America.
Little Known Facts about Fourth of July
George Washington didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence! When the Declaration was formally adopted Washington was in New York preparing to defend against the British. (Source: https://declaration.fas.harvard.edu/faq/founding-fathers-not-signers)
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the Fourth of July – creepy! (Source: https://declaration.fas.harvard.edu/files/declaration/files/last_living_signers_color-01.jpg?m=1495831292)
The fifty-star United States Flag was sewn by 17-year-old Robert Heft for a high-school project! It took him 12.5 hours over the course of one weekend. Heft’s flag has flown over 88 U.S. embassies, every state capital building and the White House. He got a B minus on the project! (sources: https://www.wakemanfuneralhome.com/local-info-and-resources/bob-heft-and-the-50-star-flag)