That was then…
Like many holidays, the sentiment behind Independence Day sometimes seems overtaken by commercialization and marketing. We see “4th of July” sales, and even references to “the holiday.” Then there are the picnics, ball games, fireworks… things which actually start to sound familiar:
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 solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations [fireworks] from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776
John Adams was one of America’s founding fathers. Clearly he didn’t think all of this merry-making distracted from the solemnity of the holiday. Quite the contrary, it emphasized what a very big deal America’s independence was – and continues to be!
…and This Is Now
Today I keep thinking of Lee Greenwood singing God Bless the USA. It’s like a contemporary version of the Star-Spangled Banner, and every time I hear either song I feel like I should stand. Both songs so passionately remind us that Freedom isn’t Free, of those who gave the Ultimate Sacrifice to form the United States of America, and those who fight to this day for this nation.
I’m reminded of John F. Kennedy reminding us in his inaugural address to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
What did you do for your country today?
Yes, the World Wide Web of course links hundreds of countries around the world. July 4 is for America, but the question is for everyone!