Independence Day is a holiday many of us celebrate with parades, picnics, barbecues and fireworks. But in the midst of these festivities, how many of us take a moment to think of why we are celebrating this day? Is it really only because of a long ago rebellion to throw off our ties to a faraway monarchy?
From the attitudes and displays of local residents and business owners, it's obvious there's more to it than that.
Recent newspaper stories from local families with children serving our country in Afghanistan bring home the message that the fight for our independence is ongoing, though this time the battlefields are not only on our own soil.
The international economy and our own country were attacked infamously Sept. 11, 2001, and there have been several other attempts at mass murder and disruption on our own soil, skies and seas since then.
So regardless of our political polarities, please take a few moments this Independence Day to think of this ongoing fight for our freedom. Attend a parade, doff your hat and make the universal sign for thanks by standing upright and placing your hand over your heart during the national anthem and as the veterans groups pass by leading local parades.
Remember the words of United States Founding Father Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men 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."
In 1825, Jefferson said the Declaration of Independence was not a statement meant to be original in its principle or sentiment, rather it was in tone and spirit an "expression of the American mind" at the time.
Do we still believe that? Are we still united in our desire to live free and be happy? If so, then let's get out there and show it! This is an election year and we will hear lots of polarizing rhetoric. And we will probably continue to see lots of partisan gridlock in Sacramento.
But for this one day, let us join together. Let us refrain from rants about political figureheads and their actions, from finger pointing and name calling. Let us celebrate our lives and liberty and those who are overseas in the homelands of people who plot against freedom and independence. Celebrate those men and women who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.