On this day in 1776, Thomas Jefferson noted that the weather in the Philadelphia area was in the mid-70s and sunny. Just another day except for the Declaration of Independence. Just another day but one on which he made history at the risk of himself and the fledgling country and his countrymen (and women). I wonder if he really felt he was the one chosen to make that statement or if he simply knew someone had to do it, so why not him? He was 33 years old and the youngest member of Congress. Can we even imagine a member of Congress acting so boldly these days? Those are the things reserved for all of Congress these days even if a President makes such a declaration
Some 241 years after that ‘just another day’ we celebrate our continuing independence, from England, but we also celebrate the giant strides our country has taken over those centuries. And, we recognize the things we still need to take care of within our country as we are also reminded of our responsibilities to liberty worldwide.
On the eve of this celebratory day, the dictator of North Korea successfully launched an ICBM that reached an altitude of some 1,600 miles. That is not “chump change” in any language. We have been successful as a country since that day in 1776, however that success came at, and still comes at, a price; a price we continue to pay even if we’re not aware of literally paying a price. If we think this was simply a coincidence, we had better think again.
Liberty is not free. Many lives and much blood have been given for you and me to live in liberty. Unfortunately, we need be prepared to pay similar prices in our future if those who follow us will still be able to celebrate ‘Independence Day’ 50 or 100 years or more from now. The magnitude of Independence Day helps us see other things in relation to that fateful day 241 years ago.
Have we the will, the strength of character, the courage and the certitude to maintain our freedom another 241 years into the future? You and I will not know the answer to that question, but our children’s children several generations ahead of today may come to know that answer. I pray that they will not have that thrust upon them, but it is certainly possible in this world.
There are, frankly, days when I wonder if we are what we used to be as a country. My visit to the VA hospital facility of a few days ago reminded me of the spirit that existed at one time, the grit we had, the courage of individuals and raised the question in my mind of how much of that spirit we’ve still managed to keep alive. I do not begin to question our military capability nor the courage of our fighting men and women. I do, frankly, question the courage and/or moral certitude of some who are in leadership positions especially in Congress.
Maybe the announcement of an inbound missile launched by an aggressor country aimed at our heartland would trigger an instant rebirth if there has been a degradation in the courage of leadership. I suspect that would be the case, but I am discomforted by the fact that I’d even have such a question on a day like today.
I am comforted, however, by those who defend you and me and our children and their children today. And, I am comforted by my personal relationship with God…the true Almighty…and that our country, for the most part, is made up of God-fearing and God-loving men and women.
Happy Independence Day and may we have many, many more Independence Days!