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Remember the real reason for the Fourth

July 2, 2013
Estherville Daily News

Tomorrow will be filled with parades, picnics, parties and (hopefully legal) fireworks. Families will reunite as will classmates from afar. One of the most important things we can do, though, is remember the real reason for the Fourth of July.

It was of course the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the day that a gathering of dedicated representatives signed their name to a document which to them could have easily have been a death warrant.

It would be years under a nation was formed. Until then, they fought in a revolution of unclear battle lines and alliances, constantly guessing who was loyal to England and who was loyal to the colonies.

Another war with England later and then came the westward expansion, with phrases like manifest destiny sending adventurers and families alike into the wilderness and onto the prairies and plains, taking land from people for whom the very concept of land ownership was a mystery.

Then came a violent and bloody Civil War that tore the country in half, and from which parts of the country still struggle to heal.

Through it all, America has continued to redefine what Independence Day really means, and for whom. At first, it was white males of means. Then it was minorities and women.

Today, we as a nation continue to struggle with what we consider to be one's rights - where do one person's rights end and where do anothers begin.

But that is the very nature of freedom - the fact that we are free to struggle, to think to debate and to decide. As lawmakers and the courts struggle to make these decisions, they are showing the very essence of freedom.

Let us be thankful that we are free to argue, cajole and persuade one another as to what freedom means.

Because that is freedom itself.



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