Every July 4th most people get a day off work. We get to spend time at the pool, barbecue with the family, watch parades and fireworks, and enjoy the summertime weather with friends. We spend a day relaxing. But we also spend the day missing the meaning of the celebration. We forget that July 4 marks the most significant day in the modern world.
We all know the story. In July 1776, 56 men pledged “[their] lives, [their] fortunes, and [their] sacred Honor” and signed a document that would shape the world forever. Today we take it for granted, but the Declaration of Independence was, in itself, revolutionary. The Second Continental Congress wanted to abide by a universal standard of justice that granted the government power only by the consent of the governed. It is for the greatest principles of liberty, equality, and justice that we should remember and celebrate this, and every, Independence Day.
At the time, it was a lowly collection of colonies that had enough of a tyrannical leader. In the 237 years since, this country based on that Declaration has faced internal strife with the Civil War, started the Industrial Revolution, survived two world wars, and emerged as the most powerful nation on Earth. Through all things that have come its way, that “new” form of government has survived all and laid groundwork for countless nations to follow in its footsteps. Our Declaration of Independence continues to be a shining light to all who hope for democracy around the world.
Today we take our basic rights and freedoms as Americans for granted. It is expected. It is ingrained in our way of life, but took blood, sweat, and tears to protect since that day in 1776.
We must spend the Fourth of July remembering the blessings we have because of our forefathers. Every July 4th, remember the words of John Adams’ final toast: “Independence Forever.”