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Monday, July 03, 2006Independence Day
Today is July 4, 2006. 230 years ago the country known as the United States to the world, my home to me, was considered officially born by the adoption by the Continental Congress of the document known as the Declaration of Independence. Although it was adopted on July 4, believe it or not it wasn't actually signed until August 2, 1776. While most of those present on July 4 were available to sign it, a few had already left the Congress and the last signature was not collected until 1781. Even then, there were two non-signers who although had voted for it, found that it was ultimately against their wishes of reconciliation with England.
The signers of the Declaration of Independence are considered our Founding Father's. While there is no denying that they planned and guided our young country to freedom from the shackles of tyranny in the form of tea and crumpets, we should not forget those who fought on the battlefields of the Revolution. Those citizens who marched against a greater challenge, a greater threat, and a greater foe than they themselves were or could ever be. It was the greater determination, the greater belief, and the greater cause of freedom that provided these soldiers with the inspiration to "make it happen".
All over this country today there will be joyful celebrations. There will be the fireworks extravaganza over the East River. There will be the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest where hopefully the Mustard Yellow Belt will come home to the United States. There will be gatherings of family from across great distances. There will be burnt barbecue because Dad still doesn't know how to do the chicken right. There will be apple pie for all. Well almost...
There will also be Memorial Services. Memorial Services for the soldiers, who like those Revolutionary citizens, have marched with greater determination, with a greater belief, for the greater cause of freedom, and sacrificed all they had so they're comrades could "make it happen". These soldiers did so over the last 230 years... they do so right at this very moment... and will hopefully continue to do so for at least another 230 years.
When it comes to supporting those fellow citizens who have enlisted to provide the defense of the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence, personal politics needs to be set aside. Religous beliefs need to be set aside. Without their service we would not have the freedoms we have to call the President of the United States a moron or to worship the religion we choose for ourselves as opposed to what a dictator or king may choose for us. Freedom of religion does not give you the right to spew hate as the Westboro Baptist Church has under the guise of religion.
While I have always tried to avoid cliche' phrases... when it is true it is true. Freedom is not free.
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.