July 4th is a national holiday to celebrate and commemorate the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress in 1776. The Declaration was more than a statement of separation from the British rule under King George III. It was also a statement of philosophy and a foundation of belief upon which our nation was formed.
The political philosophy behind the document was not uniquely American it had European roots. The idea of individual liberties can be found in the writings of Continental philosophers like John Locke. It was however an American patriot, Thomas Jefferson that drafted the Declaration of Independence and brought to life a nation founded in the philosophy of individual freedom as a right of man and not ordained by government.
In the now famous line, “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.” Jefferson clearly established the foundation of human rights as coming from our creator and not from a governmental body or king. Our rights come from our creator, which is a belief that can not be separated from our government.
Today across the world, men and women yearn for the freedoms we as Americans too often take for granted. Our freedom has come about and been preserved at great cost from past generations with the sacrifice of sons and daughters. Today this country is engaged in a war with terrorists that believe our “unalienable rights” should be restricted and our way of life and individual freedoms should be abolished.
Today a new generation of American sons and daughters are sacrificing daily in far off lands to preserve and protect our freedoms. Today men and woman are serving this nation so that your daughters can attend school, your family can attend a worship service and mom and dad can provide an environment for raising their family. We as a nation are blessed by the freedoms so eloquently declared in our Declaration of Independence and bravely protected by yet another generation of Americans.
Over this weekend as you celebrate with the sights and sounds of fireworks give pause and memory to those serving in far off lands leaving family at home to celebrate without them. Tonight your rockets red glare and fountains of celebration will be in celebration and yet in far off lands there will be rockets aimed at loved ones protecting your freedom.
It would be fitting to stop for a moment and remember the reasons we celebrate today, to take time to reflect on our freedoms and what they mean to you and your family. It is a day to join together in celebration and a time to remember those that pay a price so you can have this day, and this life.
Our rights have been endowed by our creator and protected by our sons and daughters. The Opining Quill salutes the men and women of our armed forces for their service in protecting our nation and our lives. Their sacrifice ensures a better life for all of us today and for generations that will follow.