Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

On Independence Day, we celebrate the signing of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, signaling the birth of our new nation. These are the words that have provided the lamplight for self-rule for 233 years and counting, helping to establish the United States of America as the greatest country on the planet. Take some time to reflect upon these powerful words, drafted primarily by Thomas Jefferson, particularly the well-known paragraph set forth below:

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; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
The fireworks display to celebrate this day began on the very first anniversary of Independence Day, July 4, 1777. It is said that the bright colors and the celebration gave hope to the revolutionaries fighting for the right to be a free country. The Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key, talks about the “rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air” as he witnessed the bombs, rockets, and cannon fire exchanged between Fort McHenry and the British fleet during the War of 1812, which he witnessed from the deck of one of the British ships. As the battle raged through the night and in the darkness, the bombs would light up the sky and the troops could see that Fort McHenry had not fallen, as “our flag was still there.”

To this day, our Star Spangled Banner still waves over us, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Enjoy your holiday celebration, remember that freedom isn’t free, and be safe!

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