What does the 4th of July really mean?

Happy Family Standing On The Hill And Watching The Fireworks

happy family standing on the hill and watching the fireworks

Happy 4th of July! The 1st of July is the 182nd day of the year. As you watch the fireworks tonight, consider that today is now the 185th day of the year. This probably will make little or no difference to your enjoyment of the display you go to see.  Each year, the fireworks displays seem to be longer and more spectacular.  The loud explosions, dazzling sparkles and bright flashes of color contrasting with the grey smoke really bring home to me the vision that drove Francis Scott Key to write the “Star Spangled Banner.”

O! Say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The American Flag, the 4th of July, The Declaration of Independence and the “Bombs” we know are still bursting around our soldiers tonight are more than just images of a unique US Brand. They are more than just symbols of our heritage. They are down payments on a legacy that is part of our fundamental American values. Our Forefathers created a system of government that was based on the belief that all men (and eventually this included women and African Americans) were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This was the most positive, uplifting and life affirming message the world had ever known. It became the great American experiment. The only other country to ever come close to America in creating an entirely new life affirming belief system for its citizens was Greece. Sadly, the Greek experiment failed to continue but its message has helped to form a foundation for every other experiment in democracy the world over.

There are those who argue that the “ascendancy” of the American experiment is over. It is opined that just like Rome, France, Great Britain and many other empires, America is on the downside of its greatness. China, India, Japan and Brazil are noted as possible successors. Perhaps from a military or economic view this will be true. But taken from the perspective of the belief system that under-girds America, there are no countries that are even close. We do not always practice what we preach. Moreover, in many areas of life, we seem to have lost our way. Our politicians are often guided more by party politics than by what is good for the American people.

As you enjoy your barbecue, your picnics and your fireworks today, rest assured, the core of the American experiment, the ideology that has brought and continues to bring millions of immigrants to the shores of America will ring forever through the halls of history. The world will never forget that someday and in some place called America, there were a people who lived, worked, fought and died for the belief that “we”, the people, including the rich, the poor and all minorities have a set of inalienable rights.

As long as we practice and believe in this message for all people, we will remain a great nation. We will remain a nation that is great in spirit and great in heart. As long as we care more about others than we do ourselves, our Nation will be a spiritual and moral beacon to the oppressed and downtrodden of the world. Greatness cannot be measured in economic and monetary measures. Measure the greatness of a people by the greatness of their message. By that standard, America is the greatest nation that has ever existed.

Time for Questions: 

Do you believe in the American Vision? Do you believe it is for all people, or just for Americans? When was the last time you actually read the Declaration of Independence? Do you know the difference between Patriotism and Jingoism?

Life is just beginning.

The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
James Madison

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lou Schultz
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 12:22:52

    Great article, John. You should have sent it in to local newspapers or even included it in a far-reaching press release. Keep up your writing.

    Reply

  2. John Persico
    Jul 05, 2011 @ 04:29:10

    Thanks Lou, I am grateful for your comments and proud to have you read my blogs. Hope you had a great 4th of July.

    Reply

  3. johnpersico
    Jul 04, 2015 @ 12:24:17

    Reblogged this on Aging Capriciously and commented:

    Happy 4th of July: I wrote this blog four years ago and it still rings true to me. I hope it will help you to think about what this day truly means.

    Reply

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