“Oh beautiful, for heroes proved…”
Thank you for all I’ve got.
But, almost more importantly, thank you for letting me go get what I got.
Thank you that my dreams are my own, and not the dreams of kings and queens who tell me when to dream and what to dream about.
That is truly the American Dream.
Thank you for allowing comebacks, for allowing all of us to get back up and try again.
Failure isn’t fatal here.
And the biggest thank you: for writing all this down way back there on the first 4th.
“…in liberating strife…”
The fact that you can read what it is that I’m writing is a testament to the 4th of July.
The fact that I can say our government stinks and that you can write comments that agree with it and none of us go to prison for saying or believing it is a testament to the 4th.
If the kings, if the queens, if whoever the dictator du jour of us was against fishing, was against Bass fishing, you would be a criminal of the state for pitching to the weeds.
The 4th of July gave us simply this: We matter. “We the people…” matter.
Listen to John Adams, one of the guys who helped write the Declaration of Independence, who signed it and sent it to a king, listen to what he wrote to his wife, Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Even back then, before our government was our government, it took a couple of days to get everyone to sign off on it. It being the founding document of our country.
Imagine how long that would take today.
Fifty-six men on this day, 238 years ago, pledged all to the document they signed. You might not know this but of those 56:
5 were captured and tortured before they died.
13 had their homes ransacked.
2 lost sons in the Revolutionary Army that they created.
9 died from wounds or problems brought on by the Revolutionary War.
When they signed it, it wasn’t about hot dogs and parades.
It was about life and death.
It was about you. It was about me.
For some reason, we don’t seem to do much on September 3rd every year, but maybe we should. That’s the day in 1783 that the kings and queens gave up and signed the Treaty of Paris.
It’s estimated that from the time the Revolution began until it ended 8 years later, 50,000 of our founding fathers died. Two-thousand five hundred during the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge alone.
To put that into perspective, 50,00 people was about 1% of the population here. If the Revolution happened today, that 1% would be about 3.1 MILLION. More than the entire state of Mississippi, Arkansas and 18 other states in the country that was founded on the 4th.
“…who more than self…”
I live 108 miles from the shot heard round the world. The bridge at Lexington & Concord.
I visit it often. I stand where working stiffs stood, where farmers, blacksmiths, merchants said 'enough was enough' and fired on an invading army, fired on the, at the time, most powerful army on earth.
I visit the spot where the first American defending this country fell in battle, an African American named, Crispus Attucks.
And at both spots, I get emotional.
In our day-to-day lives, living amongst all the traffic, the emails, the crazy bosses, crazy neighbors and crying kids, it is natural to think that all of this around us is natural. That this is how it has always been.
But that ain’t the case.
If what we have was no big deal, no one would be attacking us. Liberty, freedom, have to be crushed so the kings, so the queens are the only ones with keys to the castles.
Those who attack don’t want to control our lands, they want to control our minds.
Be mindful of that on every 4th.
As you are turning the hot dogs, flipping the burgers, watching the fireworks, please take a moment to give thanks.
Give thanks that you can own the land you are grilling on.
Give thanks that you can choose how you celebrate the day.
Give thanks that we have something here, with all it’s faults, with all its warts, that will allow our children to succeed, to fail, to yell, to pray, because in the end, in the final analysis, freedom, liberty is never about me, is never about you, but is about them.
Them who come after us.
“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it.” - John Adams.
Make good use of this day.
Make good use of the 4th.
And the 5th…
Make good use of them all.
“…our country loved.”
"America The Beautiful"
The best to you on this day of Independence,