Independence Day is right around the corner, which for most Americans means a day off of work, barbecue and fireworks. And, while messages to remember the reason at the heart of our national holidays are common, all Americans should take a moment to contemplate why we celebrate July 4.
Independence Day commemorates a truly remarkable moment in world history when the United States celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document whose preamble begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...” That statement has informed our national conscience over the past approximately 240 years. While we still struggle as a nation to live up to those words, the example set for us by our forefathers to stand up to tyranny and fight for what we believe is right is one that we should all learn from.
The Declaration’s authors continue: “...that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Regardless of what America has done in the past, where we are now or where we are headed as a nation, the concept that we possess rights granted by God, rights that include not just freedom, but the opportunity to better ourselves as individuals, is a truly unique and powerful concept that changed the course of history.
July 4 is a perfect time to celebrate these ideas that helped build America into the great nation it is today, and those words may serve as a guide as we move forward as a nation into an often troubling and confusing time.
So as you’re cutting up the brisket, watching the annual fireworks show or enjoying your day off with a well-deserved nap, remember why we celebrate our Independence Day. The holiday commemorates not just our freedom from Britain, but a brave and revolutionary perspective on human rights that we all should strive to share.
The opinion expressed here is that of the Herald-Banner editorial board. The board can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.