Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What is the 4th of July all about, anyways?

Earlier this evening, Eric and I left our apartment with a bowl full of firework popcorn.  We were met by a man who saw us in our red white and blue t-shirts and said, "I did graduate high school, but what is it all about, anyways?" We were confused for a bit, and then realized that he was asking what the Fourth of July is all about. We told him that it was about independence from England, and went our way thinking it was all a bit strange, especially the preamble.
Firework Popcorn -
drizzle melted white and milk chocolate over plain popcorn,
then sprinkle Pop Rocks for a festive treat.

But I was thinking about it. The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. It always means fun. Many of my favorite Fourth of July memories include hamburgers, hot dogs, family and fireworks. I have spent 4th of Julys in Canada, in Georgia, at a religious camp, at space camp, and in Texas.  I even spent a 4th of July in Bilbao, Spain.  

However, the 4th of July has to be more than just food and fun.  It is more than a fun time to celebrate in the middle of the summer.  It is more than fireworks and a day off of work.  It is our country's birthday.

But why?  Why do we make a big deal about it?  Why is it such a big deal anyways?

Wikipedia says: "Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire."

Image result for 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.
America is a great place.  Sometimes as a native, I take it for granted, but let us think together about all that America represents.

America is baseball and apple pie.  America is football. America is George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.  America is a land settled by pilgrims in search of religious freedom.  It is the pursuit of happiness and the American Dream.  It is "We the People," "I have a dream" and "We choose to go to the moon." It is John Glenn and Taylor Swift.  It is Chinese food and Italian food and Greek food and taco trucks.  It is the great melting pot of cultures. 

It is capitalism and faith and community.  America is a place where I am free to pursue my dreams and be whoever I want to be.  America is a land of opportunity, blessed by the hand of the Almighty.  God bless the USA.

What is the big deal about the 4th?  It is a day when we can remember and celebrate the wonderful land we live in together.

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