Today we celebrate the declaration of our nation’s independence from British rule. This is yet another very important piece of our nation’s history whose meaning is largely lost among the majority of our population. We have become a hedonistic society focusing instead on how good a time can be had, how many parties, and so on. Yes, today is a time to celebrate. The history of the celebrations goes back to July 8, 1776 when the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence were held in Independence Square in Philadelphia with ringing bells and bands playing. On the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia celebrated by adjourning Congress and having bonfires, fireworks, and bells. The custom spread with celebrations including picnics, military displays, games, and fireworks. Celebrations became even more common at the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.
Prior to the Declaration of Independence, America was under British government which at the time was a monarchy. The most important aspect of the Declaration of Independence was and still is self-government. All people have “unalienable rights” and the government derives its power from the “consent of the governed.” If you read the Declaration of Independence, you can see very clearly how our government over the years has expanded its powers beyond the limits set forth in the Declaration (such as “imposing taxes on us without our consent” – hmmmm – how many times does THAT happen???) and the Constitution.
As you celebrate our nation’s independence, at some point today, take some time to reflect on the fact this Declaration formed the greatest nation this world has ever known. Take some time to read it. I think all Americans should read the Declaration of Independence. You can click happy-birthday-america 03 07 2008 entries Noappologies-Biblicalperspect lifesabench6journals.aol.com>HERE and read it in Carolyn’s entry in NO APOLOGIES, BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES ON WORLD EVENTS. My wife, Nelishia, sent me this link to A CAPITOL FOURTH on the PBS website. It’s excellent. Take a few minutes to take their quiz on your knowledge of the Fourth by clicking HERE. It’s really good and educational too.
Think about all those, too, who have sacrificed to maintain our independence and freedom, and who continue to do so every day. I encourage you to thank a veteran, and thank those currently serving anytime you see them. It only takes a minute, and means so much to them.
“May it be to the world, what I believe it will be…the signal of arousing men to burst the chains…and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right, to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man…For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”
June 24, 1826