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29 June 2011

Dugger: Independence Day

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. – Ronald Reagan

Monday, we, as a country will come together to commemorate the Fourth of July. For many, this holiday weekend will be filled with numerous festivities. Families will gather for barbeques, communities will gather for parades, and of course, the night skies will be lit up with the colorful display of fireworks. While barbeques, parades, and fireworks are all vital to the celebration of our Independence Day, we often forget the true meaning of the Fourth; freedom.

Nearly 240 years ago, on April 19, 1775, the Revolutionary War began with firing of the “shot heard round the world” in Lexington, Massachusetts. For months, the colonial war effort pushed on with little success or direction until delegates from the original thirteen colonies assembled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These men knew the war effort needed leadership and direction or else it would fizzle out and the tyranny of a King an ocean away would continue to suppress their free will.

Quickly, they appointed a Virginian by the name of George Washington to be the commanding officer of the newly formed Continental Army. Nearly a year later, on the fourth day of July, in 1776, having expended all means of peaceful negotiation, the Continental Congress passed the Declaration of Independence.

Finally, the war effort received the direction and driving purpose it so badly needed. Freedom was that purpose. Freedom from oppression; freedom to live one’s life without unreasonable intervention; freedom as Thomas Jefferson described, “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.”

Though much has changed in America since the first Fourth of July, the driving spirit of freedom remains strong. Throughout the years many have sacrificed everything to protect the land we call home. It is because of these sacrifices that still to this day the United States of America remains a shining beacon in a world often plagued with injustice. As Ronald Reagan said, we should never forget the founding principles of our great nation nor those that have and continue to keep it free.

May God bless you and grant you a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.

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