Tomorrow is The 4th of July, Independence Day, the celebration of the birthday of our nation. It was 241 years ago that we officially broke away from Mother England and became a nation unto ourselves. Ours is really pretty young for a country, and yet we have one of the longest functioning democracies. That’s quite amazing. Our Founding Fathers put a lot of thought into our freedom documents and a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the actual forging of this country.
They were seven different men with differing dreams and needs and conflicting ideas about what they wanted the end result to be. They had long discussions, heated arguments. Many times, they walked away to cool down before coming back to the table to hammer out one more issue. It was stressful, arduous. It was compromise after compromise. Still they made some mistakes. There were people they did not acknowledge, problems they did not anticipate. Before the ink was dry, they were crafting amendments.
They kept after it. For years afterward they were still amending, tweeking, and providing the rules and the means to continue to change the things that needed changing. There was no way for them to know how this world today would be, no way for them to understand the changing requirements of the people, the technology, the global needs that we face now. So, they left us an imperfect set of documents that can be altered as needed, within the guidelines they set out.
Who would have thought that 241 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, after millions of our people have died to preserve our unique brand of freedom, after becoming the leader of the free world, the model for other countries to reach for, we would be as divided, as we are today? I hope we can all take a step back and try to see a few things from the perspective of another side. Go tomorrow and cheer at the parades, eat hot dogs, listen to what people say. Have a good day, a happy holiday and know that this country has never been without conflict. It has always found a way to survive. It has always been a beacon of hope. It has, more than any other nation, embraced our own diversity and used it to strengthen our values, our will, and our defense.
O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties, Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee,And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea!
Next week – Zootopia – Rector Downtown Park. Be there or be square.
Happy 4th of July. Everyone!
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