Today marks the 238th birthday of the United States of America and what a birthday party our nation will have. All across the continent people will be having cook-outs, pool parties, and concerts then closing out the day with spectacular fireworks lighting up the night sky. It offers so many opportunities for fun that it could easily make most of us jealous that our own birthdays are not celebrated in the same fashion.
The Fourth of July has always ranked high on my list of favorite holidays and the excitement I have leading up to the big day has often led others to comment that my love for the day is unnatural. I have never fully understood why they seem to think that it is wrong to love the Fourth of July, as no one ever tells me they think I get too excited over other holidays like Halloween or Christmas. In my opinion, it has always seemed un-American to not want to go all out on our nation’s birthday. It turns out I am not the only one who has thought this way; in fact John Adams, the second President of the United States, wrote a letter to his wife Abigail on the eve of the historical event that would become Independence Day.
“It will be the most memorable epochal, 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 celebrated with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these states. Yet through the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means.”
While I love the cook-outs, pool parties and most of all the fireworks, it is important to keep in mind, as President Adams alluded to in his letter; all that has taken place to allow for such a celebration. Today we celebrate something that many have given their lives for and many are still fighting for us to be able to keep: our freedom. It is what sets our country apart from so many others throughout the world and something that we all too often take for granted. The price paid to declare and keep the many freedoms that we have has been high, which is exactly why we should take time during our festivities today to remember and say a special thank you to those who have fought and are still fighting for the cause. It is because of their actions that we are able to live our lives as we so choose. Elmer Davis put it best when he said, “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
Today marks 238 years since 56 brave men stepped up and signed the Declaration of Independence, giving birth to our nation. In doing so, they ensured that we are all created equal and have been “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If that is not a cause for celebration, then I don’t know what is. Happy Birthday America!
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1