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President's Ponderings: Independence Day

By Edward Luttrell - President's Ponderings Blog (7/2/11)

  JULY 4, 2011 --

Monday is Independence Day and it falls on the fourth of July. I hope you see a parade, display your American flag, and spend some time with your family.

This holiday weekend should include some moments of reflection for each and every American. In 1776 the Continental Congress made the decision that England didn’t care about their future and against all conventional wisdom declared independence. A group of loosely allied colonies deciding to take on the world’s superpower seemed a long-shot to most.

History tells a different story. One in which events didn’t go as expected, one where people rose to the occasion and the result was independence after 8 hard years of war. Every American should take the time to understand the conditions that led to the Declaration of Independence. We should familiarize ourselves with who our founding fathers really were and the risk they took.

Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin each impacted the effort to gain independence in dramatic ways and their names are scattered across our nation in their honor. But many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence are unknown to most Americans. These were real people who suffered real effects from their signing that unique document. Their courage, their dedication to the cause of freedom, and their sacrifice in that cause demands that we emulate them today. When they signed that document, they knew if they failed, it likely meant their life would be forfeit. 

235 years of history will have passed since that historic day of July 4, 1776. Should not each American reflect on the legacy we’ve inherited and commit ourselves to ensuring that this grand experiment in freedom continues far into the future? 

I will be celebrating our Independence Day this fourth of July, not the 4th day of July. The fourth is a holiday because of what happened in Philadelphia during that hot summer in 1776. Enjoy the weekend and the celebrations and family time, but don’t forget to take that moment and reflect on what we are celebrating.

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