By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
From Concord Hymn
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now, as summer sits astride the nation, we turn to celebrate one of the most loved of national holidays, the 4th of July. We’ll escape to the mountains, flood the beaches, grill all manner of meats, eat potato salad and corn on the cob, cool our tongues with ice cream and drink roughly a billion dollars worth of beer. All of which is just as it should be. But, one thing most of us are not likely to do, is use the term Independence Day. For some, that may be a matter of choice, for others, it’s because we’re gradually losing the connection with our history celebrated on Independence Day.
It’s useful to occasionally read and reflect upon the radical truths captured in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that was officially adopted by the Congress on July 4, 1776. “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 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.”
The power of those beliefs first expressed by a brave group of individuals who had shown themselves willing to die for them, has lived on in every succeeding generation. We have not always lived up to them, but we have always returned to them, and in so doing affirmed their enduring value. The greatness of this nation continues to rest in its people, and its investment in a set of principles long held by free people, but captured with incredible elegance over two centuries in our past.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Independence Day.
By Tom Davis, SDI
July 2, 2015