“I am apt to believe that (Independence Day) will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
These are the words Founding Father John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail Adams, on July 3, 1776, the day after the second Continental Congress voted on a resolution to declare independence from the British.
Today, when you think 4th of July or Independence Day, you think of fireworks, hot dogs, parades, and picnics, or a day off work. What we often don’t take the time to reflect on and be grateful for are the 8 years patriots from the thirteen American Colonies fought tirelessly for one united and free America.
Throughout the course of our great nation’s history, Americans have risen to every occasion. Whether it be tragedy or triumph, the spirit of the American people can be tested, but not broken as proven over time through the conflicts America has overcome.
Many wars have been fought on American soil. From the aforementioned Revolutionary War, to the War of 1812, to the Civil War, a battle almost tore us apart from the inside, but even that wasn’t enough to deter our mission of a free society for all.
We have been attacked by foreign enemies who wish to see a weakened, less free United States. From the day that will live in infamy on December 7, 1941, to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, our freedoms and way of life are the envy of the world, but to some, our freedom of speech, religion and our fundamental rights are a threat.
Most recently we suffered through the COVID-19 pandemic. A deadly disease that shut down the United States and brought an entire economy to its knees.
All of these have two things in common; they tested the resolve of the American people and they failed to change our standing as the freest country in the world.
We must not forget where we came from to understand where we want to go.
When I see athletes, most recently a United States Olympian, protest the National Anthem I am reminded of a quote from Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it, and then hand it to them with the well fought lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same. And if you and I don’t do this, then you and I may well spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”
Those who show no respect for our nation show disrespect for those who fought to protect us, and those who continue to fight to keep us safe domestically and abroad.
On this 4th of July weekend, it is my sincere hope that we remember those who came before us, those who paved the way for the next man or woman to take full advantage of what the United States can offer anyone regardless of sex, race or ethnicity.
Two-hundred and forty-five years ago, the Founding Fathers set out on a mission of freedom. Freedom to believe what we want, speak how we feel, and the freedom to choose. It is our duty to carry these same principles forward for our country which will cease to remain free if we allow outside influences to dictate changes to our core principles.
“But if we are to be told by a foreign power what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little.”
This quote by George Washington still applies today, proving that while the United States has led the world, we still have more to do.