Celebrating the 4th of July

The 4th of July is an important holiday for Americans because it celebrates the declaration of freedom that started our country in 1776. Of course, there were a lot of events that led up to the declaration and we need to keep them in mind. The people involved were actually in danger of losing their lives had they been caught. In all actuality, many people were caught embracing freedom and died because of it. The freedom we enjoy today was won with a lot of blood over the years—the sacrifice of patriots who wanted something better for their families and those who would follow them.

Choosing a specific day for such celebrations is always interesting. The day we should celebrate is July 2nd because that’s when the Continental Congress actually voted for independence. Hand writing the Declaration of Independence took a while and so the document is dated July 4th, but the act took place on the 2nd. If you want to be a stickler for details (the act isn’t finished until the paperwork is done), we should celebrate until August 2nd because it took that long to get the document signed. In short, that we have a specific day to celebrate is amazing.

Our recollection of many events surrounding July 4th are actually quite wrong. National Geographic presented a list of nine myths some time ago and the article is well worth reading again. For example, Paul Revere most definitely didn’t ride alone, even though the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow makes it seem that way. There are also no secret messages hidden in the Declaration of Independence, despite what the makers of National Treasure would have you believe.

No matter how you choose to spend the day, be sure to take a little time to consider the cost of your freedom. Your freedom wasn’t free—many patriots paid the ultimate price for it. Not being engaged in protecting our freedoms using whatever skills we possess means giving up the very thing these people died to give us. If nothing else, take a little time out to watch a few short 4th of July videos and discuss them with your family and friends. The barbecue and fireworks will wait the few minutes needed to consider just what our freedom means.

Personally, I’ll be taking some time today to express my own sense of freedom by working in the flower garden for a while and checking on my herbs. Our fireworks won’t happen until tomorrow night (I plan to be on hand because our fireworks are always amazing for such a small town). Let me know your thoughts on the 4th of July and the freedom our country enjoys at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.