by Steve Dunn
Today is July 4th, the day we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence separating us from the rule of England and its mad King George. Never mind that John Adams that July 2nd would be Independence Day and that declaration was not actually signed until July xx. July 4th was the Day we formally declared our independence.
Never mind the historical proof-texting because far more important is the principle. The Declaration reads:
In Congress, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
This was a momentous action—and its core values—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have shaped our people and inspired other peoples and nations. We have sometimes had trouble defining those three words and have certainly made mistakes along the ways—but the end product is so powerful that for more than two centuries people have immigrated to our shores seeking to find those truths to be a reality in their lives.
Compared to so much of the rest of the world, we have rich and meaningful lives, paralleled freedom, and countless opportunities to choose happiness. Today is a day to get past the debates over walls and immigration, athletes who stand or kneel, trade agreements and foreign influence in our politics. For just today, can we pause, reflect our blessings, celebrate our freedom, and give thanks to our Maker.
© 2018 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org