Patriotism spans continent, centuries
Fireworks, hot dogs, watermelon and the Fourth of July.
Nothing epitomizes the spirit of America like this summertime holiday and all that surrounds it. It is the singular day that inspires American patriotism like no other. It is our Independence Day, born of bloody battles and willful determination by our forefathers to free themselves of tyranny and oppression.
The right to celebrate this day was hard-fought. It came thanks to a determined group of colonists who risked life and limb to assert their rights to form their own nation, independent of Britain.
Our Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, on July 4, 1776. Its most familiar phrases are in its preamble: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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.”
We have come far in these 235 years since that declaration was signed. In July 1776 there were 2.5 million people living in this newly established country, according to the U.S. Census bureau. In July 2011 there are an estimated 311.7 million. Then we were 13 colonies; today we are 50 states. Then we populated the eastern seaboard; today we stretch thousands of miles from the tip of Maine to the shores of Hawaii, from the Florida Keys to Alaska. Our communities are increasingly diversified, and we remain a beacon to those seeking freedom and more.
While battles on America’s shores are a distant memory, the global threat of terrorism is never far away. As we sit in relative comfort, we know thousands of our sons and daughters are directly in harm’s way, spending this holiday helping protect against that very real threat of tyranny and oppression.
It is because of men and women like these through the centuries that, despite debate over laws and personal rights, we remain the land of the free, the home of the brave.
THE ISSUE: The Fourth of July.
WE SAY: Despite our many differences, we remain the land of the free, home of the brave.
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