Saturday, July 4, 2009

Meaning of 4th of July

Independence Day better known in modern times as the 4th of July is a grand and great holiday in the United States of America and is often a favorite of young people who especially enjoy the exciting colorful and noisy traditional fireworks. The fireworks, however, are but a symbol of the meaning behind the 4th of July celebration of independence. The meaning behind the 4th of July Independence Day holiday came about as the result of the valiant efforts and strong commitment of our American forefathers not so very long ago.

Amazing changes and events have happened since July 4, 1776, however, very important changes and dramatic events also occurred prior to July 4, 1776. Brave and restless people had uprooted their lives, left everything behind, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to come to this land where they sought freedoms and rights not available to them in their homeland. They formed settlements here and organized into various groups of towns and colonies with their own local laws and rules, while still under the authority of the King of England. The country was being born and the ideals of just how and what those freedoms would entail were ironed out through controversy and cooperative efforts of the differing opinions of the day.

The vote for the United States to become independent of Great Britain actually occurred on July 2, 1776 by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congress formally approved the document, the "Declaration of Independence" on July 4, 1776. This declaration was the final break with Great Britain and expressed the united view of all of the colonies to become independent. This act was a culmination of dramatic events in which the early Americans faced a great deal of unrest that was accompanied by heartfelt and explosive rebellious incidents in their efforts to be free from tyranny. They were not deterred as they sought to identify, solidify, and maintain the profound and precious freedoms and justices they had so yearned for that they were willing to commit their entire lives to the values that they embraced.

This was, however, just a beginning point of establishing freedom in this great land, as at that time in our history, the Revolutionary War to complete the severing of our dependence from Great Britain was yet to take place, plus the horrific practice of slavery still existed, women were not privileged to enjoy most of these independent rights, and, sadly, Native Americans were being displaced and uprooted as they lost their native homelands to the onward movement of the American settlers. Since the momentous Declaration of Independence was signed and approved, our struggles to truly bring equality and equal rights to everyone has triumphed with many victories, while movements and progress continue to this day.

Even though it seems like such a long time ago, if you put it into the perspective that using a moderate lifetime of only 60 years, those 232 years since 1776 are less than 4 lifespans away from our present 2008. As we approach another 4th of July holiday celebration it comes to mind that our American peoples from all heritages and ethnic backgrounds can truly celebrate the enormous progress that has been made over the span of these minute and short 4 lifespans of time. Our values and ideals are far too precious to become lost through the fears and struggles we are experiencing today.
American forefathers successfully worked through strife, fears, and the bullies of their time to prevail in establishing this great country. We, as recipients and inheritors of their magnificent efforts, must hold our heads up high as we express our thanks and jubilation on the 4th of July Independence Day holiday celebrations that we live in such a great country, and we should be encouraged to work together, hand in hand, to resolve our problems and differences in order to maintain the integrity and values that the great and famous document, the Declaration of Independence was founded upon.

A significant point of evidence to remind us that all these differences can be overcome is the cooperative and friendly relationship and camaraderie that the United States and Great Britain have been enjoying for many many years. Those differences were very important to early Americans and Great Britain in 1776 that many risked and lost their lives over those matters at that time in history. Today it seems strangely remote and unusual that the United States and Great Britain would be enveloped in such a great controversy, and yet it happened. There is an important lesson here that we, too, can resolve all of our differences, and as we enjoy celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day holiday with the magnificent fireworks, tasty barbecues, traditional hot dogs, fun parades and other symbolic events that mark the freedom and birth of our great country, we share a common goal and belief that all people are created equal and that this country is founded on the belief of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.