betsy_ross-first-american-flag[1]This holiday is celebrated across the country as picnics and fireworks.  We all enjoy the warm weather with the warm breeze rolling across the fields.

In 1776, the date means so much more.  Actually, the process started on June 7, 1776 when the Virginia Convention instructed Richard Henry Lee to introduce to the Second Continental Congress a resolution for independence from Great Britain.

This resolution was adopted on July 2, 1776.  It took 2 days for Thomas Jefferson to write and have his colleagues edit the document for final approval.  It was signed on July 4, 1776.  This was the birth of the new country.

Jefferson was inspired and influenced by a British philosopher named John Locke.  Locke wrote in 1688 about England’s “Glorious Revolution.”   He had the ability to express man’s “natural rights” that reached into the soul of all who read him.  Locke was the man who wrote about government only working with the consent of the people.

The actions taken by our forefathers brought on war, death, hardship and eventually victory.  The people believed in what they fought for.  Many died for those beliefs.

Now, 240 years later, America is still living this experiment called “Democracy.”  Our soldiers are still dying fighting an enemy that hates our way of life.

Americans do not have the same spirit and nationalism that we had just a few years ago.  Foreigners who have migrated to our shores no longer need to assimilate into our culture.  Our history is not taught in the public schools any more.  Most kids today can’t tell you the names of 5 founding fathers.

As we celebrate this holiday season, let’s spend some time remembering what our forefathers endured to create this country.  Most of the founders were wealthy.  Many had farms or other businesses.  After putting their names on the Declaration of Independence they became targets for the British.  If the revolution would not have been successful, then they would have been punished or killed for their treason to Britain.

Let us also remember those who fell on the battlefield around the world.  Through the years, America sent our best and brightest across the globe to fight for freedom for those not strong enough to fight for themselves.  Most of those soldiers returned home.  Some died. Others are still missing.

This holiday is a time for fun and family.  We should all celebrate our nations birth.  So go out there and cook those hot dogs and burgers.  Share stories with friends and family.  Spend the day enjoying America and all the bounty she has provided for us.  We were fortunate to be living in one of the greatest countries ever created.

Betsy Ross, the woman who designed and made the first American flag, has an interesting story.  Betsy and her husband, John Ross, started an upholstery business.  John was a member of the Pennsylvania militia.  While guarding an armory an explosion occurred which eventually took the life of John.

The young widow continued the business.  She did some work for Martha Washington, a friend from Christ Church in Philadelphia.  Betsy was raised a Quaker but joined the church of her husband after her marriage.  The Ross pew was right next to the Washington pew.

George Washington, at the time, was the head of the Continental Army.   One of the problems he encountered was that each of the colonies had their own flag.  This had caused some confusion.  George showed Betsy a sample of a flag with a 6 point star.  Betsy showed him how she could make a 5 point star with a single cut.

Washington sent two representatives to accompany him to visit Ross at her home.  George Ross, an uncle of her late husband, and Robert Morris, a hugely successful businessman from Philadelphia.  The three were members of a secret committee for the Continental Army.  They persuaded Ross to make the first flag.  She completed the flag in late May or early June of 1776.  It was unveiled upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4 of that year.  The flag was a symbol of the unity of the colonies.

I find these little bits of history interesting, as our youth are not exposed to this type of information any more.  We need to continue to expose our population to our heritage.

So America, proudly fly your flag and celebrate America’s birthday.  Make it the best 4th ever!


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