Summer is in full swing and Americans are looking forward to celebrating another Fourth of July. For many people, July 4th
means picnics, parades and fireworks. While those are important and fun pastimes we enjoy with family and friends, I would encourage you to look beyond these classic summer activities and look to our past.
July 4, 2018 will mark 242 years since America declared her independence from Great Britain. This occurred when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 and solidified what is one of the most important dates in history not only for America, but for the entire world.
It marked the beginning of a young nation as it stepped out in boldness, freedom and bravery to declare that it no longer wanted to be ruled by a king known for trampling on the rights of colonists. The Declaration of Independence states, “… 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.” Those famous words, so eloquently written by Thomas Jefferson, served then, and now, as one of the most important cornerstones of our nation.
While over two hundred years now separate us from the men who would go on to bravely sign the Declaration of Independence, I hope this July 4th you will remember the dedication and sacrifice of those who came before us. Many signers of the Declaration of Independence were captured, killed, had their homes destroyed, or lost their lives as they fought in the Revolutionary War. Their faith in God and country were so strong that they were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that others, like us today, could enjoy our freedoms as Americans.
America has undergone many changes and added countless pages to the books of its history since the year 1776, but one thing remains – we are still a nation grounded in the words of the Declaration. It is crucial that we continue to teach those words and principles to the generations to come.
As you gather with loved ones and watch fireworks this Fourth of July, take time to pause and reflect on our nation’s birth and the sacrifices it took to create this great country. Teach American history to your children. Remember to never take our freedoms for granted. When we sit in church, step into a voting booth, or read a commentary in the newspaper, we do these things because we are Americans and we are blessed with the freedoms declared 242 years ago.