Fireworks. Parades. Picnics. Barbeques. They’re all part of our annual celebration of our country’s achievement of freedom. This year marks the 237th anniversary of the declaration that established the United States of America and now, perhaps more than ever before, we need to reflect as we celebrate.
Although our Declaration declared independence from Great Britain, it represents much more than a severing of a singular abusive relationship. In declaring independence, the founders of our nation established a new role for government; protecting freedom, as opposed to granting it. The genesis of that role was not a rebellion against a country, but a rebellion against the concept and implementation of government as an oppressor. Take a moment to reflect on that. And each time you see the sparks of a “bomb bursting in air”, or hear its concussion, be reminded of its celebratory symbolism– another shot fired in the fight for freedom.
Yet in spite of over 200 years of celebration, it seems our freedoms are more at risk today than ever before. The threats derive not from an individual, a political party or another nation, but from citizen apathy, ignorance and self interest. A government that was established to protect freedoms is now widely scene as a provider- and a protector of provisioning. A government that was founded on citizen involvement and participation is now commonly ignored or viewed with apathy.
Freedom for future generations is wholly dependent on the actions of current generations, and it takes much more than an annual celebration to assure liberty. There are no better reminders of that than a picnic, parade or barbeque. Or fireworks bursting in air.