July 4th. It brings about thoughts of picnics, fireworks, days off work and family get-togethers. But, all too often these days, many forget what the holiday is supposed to celebrate. The birth of our nation, forged in the crucible of fire and cooled by the hard work of her people. Created by some of the smartest men of their age, pondering some of the highest concepts upon which any nation was ever conceived, the USA has endured for 229 years today.
As Thomas Paine said, “The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.” So has the USA has been a beacon of liberty and not just one selfishly sitting on that shinning city on a hill (as Ronald Reagan famously quoted John Winthrop), but one willing to advocate and work for it among all the peoples of the world. George Washington knew that our cause was the cause of future generations of man. “Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!”, he said.
And Americans have always given generously of themselves and their treasure for such causes around the globe. John Adams put it perfectly when he said, “I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
But we must remember, the struggle is never over. We must always keep on the right road, the road to the health of our Republic and our Democracy. Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, reminded us so in 1786.
“The American war is over; but this far from being the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens for these forms of government after they are established and brought to perfection.” –Benjamin Rush (1786)
I will leave you with one final Founder quote. One that, I hope, will inspire you to keep the faith in these often turbulent times:
“[T]he flames kindled on the 4 of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them. … The Declaration of Independence…[is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man.” –Thomas Jefferson (1821)
Have a happy Independence Day. Happy birthday America. May you never fall.