That’s right! It’s not just the 4th of July or Independence Day. I for one redirect you to the preamble of The Declaration of Independence,
“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.”
When I think about the independence I have been given I am thankful to all veterans, past and present, who have served to protect these rights. It is their service to this country that grants me the ability to pursue happiness however I see fit (when not limited by what I feel is our over-stretched government). I also think about how important this statement is and has been over our country’s history. It took a long time to obtain many freedoms and we are still struggling to fully achieve one major point in that profound statement. It says, “that all men are created equal”, yet we still don’t treat all as equal. African Americans, women, various and assorted minorities, and even the GLBTQ community are still discriminated against, not treated as equals, and are at times denied their “unalienable rights” to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Memorial Day is for the fallen who served our country. Veteran’s Day is to honor those still with us who have served to protect The Constitution of the United States. So, while you’re shooting off fireworks this year don’t do it in honor of the Vets or the current service members. Don’t raise a glass for our military past and present. Instead I beg you to instead take a moment to reflect on what the Declaration of Independence means to you, what it has meant to this country, and share it with your family. Help them understand, if they don’t already, why honoring the essence of today is so important. It’s an opportunity for growth, one opportunity many won’t take.
Today, I will enjoy the comforts of my pursuit of happiness, my liberties to do what I wish (within the limitations placed upon me by my government), and the life that I am able to live because I have been protected from terrorists domestic and foreign. I will also share with my older sons how I value these things and how they should too. I will preach tolerance for fellow man regardless of his race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, life choices or other characteristics that they may find displeasing or even uncomfortable. I will urge them to walk their walk of life with an understanding that this nation’s history has much to teach them and that we as a nation still have much to learn.
If none of my message reaches you enough to change how you go about your day, please do so safely and remember that you’re able to enjoy because of those that came before you and the ones who could change that are those whom we elect.
From my family to yours,
Happy Independence Day