Friday, July 4, 2014

They Say It's (Y)Our Birthday

“Independence Day, often referred to as the Fourth of July, is a national holiday commemorating the July 4, 1776 adoption of our Declaration of Independence.  The Second Continental Congress voted for a resolution of independence on July 2, 1776.  The actual Declaration was debated, revised, and finally approved on the fourth. 

“Historians have long debated, and disputed, whether the Declaration was actually signed on July 4.  Many believe it was really signed on August 2.  An interesting coincidence is that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers to also serve as President, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, the Declaration’s 50th anniversary."

Independence Day is NOT about car sales, beach trips, beer guzzling, barbecued gluttony, or chest-thumping jingoism though we have through benign contempt reduced much of today to variants of all of that shortsightedness. We focus on the fireworks and fail to see them as symbolic of the ordnance expended in deadly earnest that helps preserve our freedoms.

We too often are a nation of people who use our precious gift of free speech to tell others with whom we disagree to shaddup; who understand our freedom of association to mean we can dislike with impunity those with a different religion, sexual orientation, political ideology or skin color sometimes regarding them as somehow less than our equals.

Today, Independence Day, between the grilled hot dogs, keggers, and marathon backyard softball games, should be an opportunity to enumerate and appreciate the blessings that nearly two and half centuries of selfless sacrifice have allowed each of us to regard as our birthright. The freedom to be whomever we choose to be.

Yeah, I know it's a day late but it's a wonderful Calvin & Hobbes.
Happy Birthday, United States of America!   
-bill kenny

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