This year seems to be flying by for me. I have been out of commission recently while I tested our healthcare system. The Fourth of July is upon us. It is time to remember what this celebration is all about.
241 years ago, there were thirteen colonies located in America. The British claimed this land as part of their empire. The British appointed people as governors and all the other official positions needed in the New World society. The British navy patrolled the sea lanes between Europe and the colonies. All the costs were born by the British Empire. As with all possessions, these costs were growing as the colonies matured and prospered. The British controlled the trade that took part with the colonies. That was their return for the services that they provided.
Life in the colonies was hard. Nothing was given to the people. There wasn’t anyone to give it, or really anything to give. The people in the colonies worked hard to survive. Most farmed the rich soil. However, they had to originally import their grain, other than what they were able to produce themselves after a few years of farming. Without the knowledge from the past, many of the crops they tried to grow were unsuccessful because of the wrong soil type or not the proper climate for the crop. The colonies learned hard lessions with trial and error.
The British started taxing the colonies to cover their costs. This put a real strain on the colonies who were struggling with daily life in their environment. The people who lived in the colonies were pretty free in their daily lives. The British government was so far away that heavy regulation was impossible. The colonies started to object to the demands of the British.
Some of the local leaders, mostly those who were outspoken about the cost that England was demanding from the colonies gathered together and wrote King George III that they would no longer pay the toll or taxes England was demanding. They went even further than that, they wrote what we today call the Declaration of Independence. This document not only declared that the colonies would be free from Britain, but it exposed a new philosophy of life that became the basis of our Constitution. For the first time, people had declared rights given from God that the state could not take away.
This was very radical thinking for that time. Established countries up to that time were ruled by a ruler or king. The people were all led by a few people who were considered to be royal. Our radical thinking was going to change all of that.
The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. This was the date that America became free. Sure, we had to fight to keep that freedom. We had to suffer a war with Britain. But we really became free when we DECLARED our freedom. From that day forward, we were fighting for a new concept. We were fighting for the right to make our own decisions, make our own way based on the talents and hard work we were willing to extend to get what we wanted.
All thirteen colonies signed the document. This was a unified decision that ran all across the land. America was born with this document.
Our public schools don’t teach very much about this any more. It seems that our education system believes Americans don’t need to know about the sacrifices our fore founders endured to create this great experiment in democracy. The Declaration of Independence was the first written step to create the freedoms we enjoy today.
I feel a need to write these stories about our country’s history because our children aren’t taught about the sacrifices and struggles those people endured to create the land of freedom we enjoy today. I am afraid that over time our history will be lost. Just today, FOX News reported the New York Times printed a copy of the U.S. Constitution on its pages instead of the Declaration of Independence. They didn’t know the difference or didn’t understand what the holiday stands for. If the New York Times is that ignorant about our nations history, can you understand my concern?
So, on this holiday, fly your American flag. When you look at it, remember those who had the courage to stand up to England. Also remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in all the wars to keep us free. So when you have your cookouts, gather your families, enjoy your communities fireworks, and celebrate America, remember the reason of the holiday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!