To me, Independence Day is a reminder of our separation from the yoke that was The British Empire. It should be something celebrated and cherished, yet at the same time, we should be seeking out own independence from the yoke of an overreaching government.
“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.” These are the words that embody the very soul of the American tradition of freedom, something that I personally cherish, as do many other Americans.
And then there’s the bittersweet aftertaste. For the first century of our nation’s existence, with some minor hiccups along the way, we followed these basic principles written in the Declaration of Independence, until it began to slip into the subconscious. Many of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence are relevant today; “obstruction of the Administration of Justice, sending hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, imposing Taxes on us without our Consent”. And I don’t blame the Obama administration for this, rather, I blame pretty much every president, in one degree or another, from Theodore Roosevelt down to today.
I can go on about this, enough to make dozens of blog posts even, but I’ll leave it at what I have above.
To the founders, the basic meaning independence meant, as noted by Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary, “Freedom; exception from reliance or control; state over which none has power”
The British St. James’s Chronicle noted in September 1776 that on July 11th, “the Deceleration of Independence was read at the Head of each Brigade of the Continental Army, posted at and near New York, and everywhere received with loud Huzzahs, and the utmost Demonstrations of Joy.”
Such “Demonstrations of Joy” today are shown thought the lighting of fireworks, but even then, that has been hindered (when I lived in California, for example, there was a $1,000 fine for the use of “prohibited” fireworks (i.e. Roman candles)).
Independence Day should be seen as an inspiration, as a historical example of how our founders paved the road to their freedom. Now we must do the same with ours.
: Saint James’s Chronicle, September 1776