On Friday, the News office, along with just about every other store, business, office or establishment, will be closed in honor of Independence Day. There aren't many holidays during the summer months, and July 4th is a welcome respite from the doldrums and the heat.
It's all too easy for us to treat July 4th as just another day off from work, an excuse to splash about in the water, drink too many cold beverages and eat far too many hot dogs. But, it should be so much more.
238 years ago, on a sweltering hot Philadelphia summer day, the Continental Congress began the long process of ratifying a document that amounted to high treason against the Crown of England. By affixing their signatures, the signers guaranteed themselves lives of persecution and misery when their English overlords retaliated for such disobedience.
It is because those men finally decided that no further indignities would be suffered that they were compelled to take action. They were lawyers, soldiers, farmers, printers, merchants and scallywags. They came from wealth and from modest means, and they came from backgrounds of religious piety and total indifference. But, they agreed that it was time to place their destinies in their own hands.
Thanks to their bravery and their heroism, we have the country that we have today.
We have the right and the ability to worship God in any way we should choose, even when we call God by different names and worship him in different fashions. We also have the right to not worship, or to even believe in a God, if that is our choosing. We are then assured that our government will not try to impose their own beliefs upon the rest of us, and we will not attempt to mold it to fit our beliefs.
We have the right to disagree with one another, and with those in power, and to express our disagreement without fear of retaliation. Speaking out does not mean we will not receive negative reactions, as some people do not like to hear opinions that don't match their own and will go to great lengths to silence others. Our government is founded on allowing the dissenting voices the right, and the opportunity, to be heard.
We have the right to keep and bear arms for the defense and protection of our homes and our families. Built onto that protection is the right to not be subject to military occupation or unjust seizure of our homes by the government or the military.
We have the right to gather together without fear of being punished. Whether we are discussing the newest methods for brush control, the latest methods of educating our children, or how we need to reform the way our government is being run, we are protected.
Much like the wandering hordes left Egypt following Moses and were handed down the laws of God, then promptly began adding rules about diet, clothing, behavior and administration, the colonists could not leave well enough alone. They took their basic ideas of freedom, and almost immediately began to try to codify every situation that they thought might occur. Over 238 years, we have added laws that seemingly govern every aspect of our lives, and we haven't slowed up as the years have ticked along and the populace has become inured to the process.
On Friday, do take the opportunity to enjoy the day off. Celebrate too much, eat too much and party too much. But, pause for at least a while to pay homage to our founders and to give thanks that they risked everything so that the ones who followed them would be free.
Happy Independence Day!
It’s all just my opinion.