The Commonality of Fourth of July

Paula LabrotBy Paula Labrot

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The Commonality of Fourth of July
If nothing else, Independence Day should bring our nation’s people together. One of the perks of visiting India was being caught up in the ubiquitous street festivals that take place all over that vast continent. No one wears black. It’s so colorful and sparkly as you make your way through small villages and bustling cities. There always seems to be time to celebrate something. It got me thinking about our festivals…the ones celebrated on a national level like Halloween, Christmas, New Years, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and, of course, Independence Day! Talk about sparkly! We call it Independence Day. We hope that the overall effect of the celebration will be to bring the citizens of the United States together in a celebration that creates solidarity among us. It is a time to share our very good fortune at having been blessed with remarkable freedoms. In What Ways Does the Fourth of July Connect Us? The four aspects of human character include intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual components. Through that lens, the Fourth of July has meaning on all four levels. Physically, the Fourth of July celebrates the establishment of a union of colonies that unified to successfully throw off the overseas rule of King George of England and form a new country. The diverse immigrant populations of the colonies all had their own reasons for coming to America, but what connected them most was a hunger for self-determination, for freedom. The greatest percentage of immigrants were from England seeking religious and economic freedom. The next largest immigrant group was forced labor from Africa. Their hunger for freedom had a much longer journey than the Irish, Swedish, Spanish and Dutch immigrants mixed with the German and French soldiers who stayed after the Revolution was won. Physically, now fifty states and numerous territories, the United States has absorbed wave after wave of diverse cultures, connected on the Fourth of July by the commonality of a desire for self-determination and love of freedom. Intellectually, the Fourth of July is incredibly significant in American history. It marks the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the United States officially became its own nation. The Declaration of Independence was intellectually revolutionary. The document made common people realize the truth that a king (or government) of a nation is not the representative of God, but is the representative of his country’s people, and therefore, should always be respectful towards and protective of their natural rights. Those natural rights included Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This document asserts that actual power does not come from a king or government, but from the people. Dr. Martin Luther King wrote, “I have a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” We’ve been working on that truth since the Declaration of Independence was written. Every Fourth of July freedom-loving people are connected by that dream that went back as far as George Washington, who said, “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.” The journey continues. The Fourth of July parades, the fireworks that light up the night sky, the music that celebrates the commitment to freedom embedded in the soul of this country emotionally bind us to our families, friends and neighbors as we enjoy all the day has to offer. As the skies explode with light and energy, our collective souls connect. The ideals set down in the Declaration of Independence are lofty....and we’re trying, inch by inch to build on those ideals. Celebrating those ideals together is a beautiful feeling. Spiritually, the Fourth of July can connect people through gratitude. Anyone who has traveled the world understands the gift of freedom. Even though trying to get a nation of free people to work in unity on anything is like trying to herd cats, we can all feel grateful for the remarkable document that changed the world. Our Declaration of Independence also reminds us that kings, rulers or government officials are not above God…the Power from which the Declaration declares human beings derive their inalienable, natural rights which leaders are bound to respect and protect. Happy Birthday, United States of America! Bring on the party! Enjoy the colorful parades, parties and fireworks. We are celebrating the 247th birthday of a nation. We find ourselves at a time where the high-tech platforms of social connection are being deliberately used to create all kinds of hateful disconnections among the people of our nation. The Fourth of July is a good holiday to remind us not only of what we have in common, but what we want to have binding us together…a commitment to the original ideals set down in the remarkable document that launched a beautiful dream.the Declaration of Independence. Vamos a ver!
Paula Labrot

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