I have written numerous times celebrating Independence Day, the Fourth of July, today.
I will celebrate in my own way today. However, this year, my celebration will be mixed with sadness and concern.
I will honor the 245th anniversary of declaring this country’s independence with a rather remarkable document created and signed by 156 men. Those signers had flaws just like everybody i know of today. I will not judge them by today’s standards as we seem so eager to do. Yet flaws and all, they created this testament of freedom, regardless of their operational definitions produced by their culture in 1776.
I will go up to my flag at the top of our hill, look down on a city that, like so many others, would not exist, certainly not in the same way, if those men had not created and signed the Declaration of Independence. That flag, our flag, is the symbol for the freedom of us. All of us.
I will be sad.
There will be those who wish our symbol to be only theirs, not everyone’s in this country. There will be those who believe they have been disenfranchised and had their freedoms curtailed leading to some rather illogical thinking that we should get rid of the system created by that Declaration and the Constitution of the United States.
There will be those who are trying or will try to subvert the beautiful, powerful words of:
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…
There will be many on just about every side of political stances who will desecrate Our Flag by disfiguring it to make statements to support their position. The flag, Our Flag is unique. There are seven red stripes alternating with six white stripes for the thirteen original states. There are 50 white stars on a field of blue in the upper corner. representing our current states. The Red symbolizes hardiness and valor. The White symbolizes purity and innocence. The Blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. That’s it.
There are others who will not honor the flag and the equality and freedom we continue to try to attain for everyone. There will be numerous of us who will actually demonstrate disrespect for the flag by turning away, kneeling, not take off hats, not standing silently, not putting their right hands on their hearts, some even burning it. People corrupted the way we do business, not our Flag. Ironically, our Flag represents the freedom and equality we all should be seeking for ourselves and others.
It is against the flag code to show disrespect of the flag and the country by changing its colors or adding words or symbols.
Our Flag represents the freedom and equality we all should be seeking for ourselves and others. It is our right to protest peacefully. i spent a goodly portion of my life protecting our right to protest peacefully among other rights. Even if one chooses to show disrespect for the Flag and what it symbolizes, i shall not object. But i will be sad you have exercised your right by also disrespecting Our Flag.
The Declaration of Independence declared our rights to equality, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution established how our country would go about ensuring those rights. This is not perfect, but it is as close as any government has established to ensure those rights.
The U.S. of America was created by men who were from different sides of the political spectrum. Yet they forged ahead with negotiation and compromise to create the best way to run a country in the history of the world. As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Yet today, it seems everybody believes they have the only right answer, are unwilling to compromise, and more concerned about getting their leaders elected than trying to make all of this work with the intent of the Declaration and the Constitution.
So when i’m at the top of that hill underneath our Flag, i will quietly give thanks that we are in this country with its two defining documents. I will also be sad that we keep messing with the whole trying to make it one part, not the sum. And i also will be a bit fearful one side or the other might take total power, making the part something those men who signed the Declaration of Independence never intended. It is the words of the two documents, not limited by what it meant in 1776. And those men worked it out to have the sum be greater than the parts. Now, folks want it to be one part, their part. Therefore, i am sad.
i won’t say “Happy Fourth of July.” i will say: May God bless our independence and grant us the ability to keep it that way.
God Bless America.