Our Freedom and the 4th of July - Why do we celebrate it?

Posted by Lance Hightower on Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 at 5:39pm.

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On the 4th of July, there are celebrations all over the United States. Approximately "103 million" people will be attending some type of party to partake in the festivities associated with this holiday. Folks all over the U.S. break out their barbecue grills and shoot off fireworks in celebration of our freedom. Even though many Americans have created their own traditions, there is a much deeper history behind the 4th of July.

A Brief Overview

The 4th of July is meant to commemorate "the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence." Thomas Jefferson is credited with being the primary contributor to this historic document. The Declaration was written after many battles were fought between early settlers and the British. The Revolutionary War was a precursor to this document. Other historical figures that contributed to this document were Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. It is no surprise that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson served as United States Presidents. John Adams served as the second President in U.S. History. Thomas Jefferson followed John Adams by serving as the third U.S. President.

The Declaration of Independence Meaning

Although the Declaration of Independence was created in the 1700's, there are certain key phrases that are utilized in politics and patriotic speeches still to this day. For instance, the Declaration states the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It seems there are arguments over how these terms apply to citizens. Some scholars believe that they have devised clues for solving this mystery. Written after the Declaration of Independence, "the Virginia Declaration actually speaks of the "pursuing and obtaining" of happiness." Some scholars are inclined to believe that the original authors meant "the pursuit of happiness" to be based on actual actions taken by citizens and that it isn't just an implied abstract concept. Other scholars support the idea that "life, liberty, and happiness" are more about a "state of being."

Our National Anthem

In 1814Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner." The elements described in the song are firsthand accounts of what Mr. Key witnessed during a battle with the British. Key worked as a lawyer. He ended up at the battle near Baltimore when he was commissioned by James Madison to retrieve a surgeon that had been captured during the battle. He is noted as being an amateur poet in addition to serving as a lawyer. After being written by Mr. Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was published for the first time "in Baltimore newspapers under the title “Defense of Fort M’Henry.” It wasn't until President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order in 1916 that the anthem was designated as, "the national anthem of the United States for all military ceremonies."

Why History Is Important

Connecting to our countries heritage is one of the best ways we can pay homage to those who have fought for our rights both on and off the battlefield. John Adams once wrote to his wife saying, "Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom!" This statement is a call from our former President to connect with how we've obtained our current rights. It is also a call to reconnect with our countries history in a meaningful way. 

Patriotism is, "love for or devotion to one's country." Our country was founded by settlers and immigrants from all over the world. Our culture and freedoms continue to attract individuals globally. People still flock to America in pursuit of the "American Dream." Americans all over the country will gather with family and friends in support of this beloved and hard-won holiday. Let us enjoy our time together and consider our countries rich heritage.

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