It’s our Independence Day, so feel free to celebrate

We as a people have long celebrated Independence Day in different ways.

Picnics and cookouts are essentials for some people. Parades are the norm in some cities while a night at the races is the highlight of the day for people in other locales. Of course, for many more, the day is not complete without fireworks if not a showy public fireworks display.

These days, it seems, we’ve even found different reasons to celebrate, be it to honor first responders, our valued men and women in the armed services, our country, our flag. All fall under the umbrella of patriotic causes and are appropriate to also celebrate on Independence Day.

We should, however, remind ourselves of the history of Independence Day. It was on this day in 1776 that the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The declaration stated in no uncertain terms that we were now a united people, 13 free colonies, and as such had the God-given right to separate from Great Britain. Listed were numerous causes for separation, including acts of tyranny brought upon the colonies by King George III.

Besides the actual declaration of independence, the document widely recognized as the most important one in our country’s archives, includes these words which stir our hearts today:

“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.”

The men who later that August signed the final document further declared that government exits to protect these same freedoms, and that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Their words, their ideals, to which the “rebels” pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor were not made in haste or without debate but with numerous revisions and additions and finally agreed upon in unison.

Today we can proudly say that those very words have not only endured, but that we as a nation have put life into them by defending and advocating for freedom far beyond the boundaries of the original 13 colonies.