Independence Day: From a Sailor’s Perspective
Jul 03, 2012
As June’s warmth turns into the blaze of July, we’re surrounded by the icons of a nation: baseball, barbeques, family vacations and our children skinning knees and climbing trees in the sizzling sun. The smells and sights of summertime in the U.S. have always reminded me of the 4th of July, that epitome of the American summer. This is why it’s so invasively alien when the 4th day of July arrives and the smell of burning trash replaces the scent of citronella candles and the choking, hazy smoke of ordinance and the rapid fire chatter of an unfamiliar language replaces the comforting blanket of fresh-cut grass, smoke from the grill and the sounds of sprinklers and little league games. I can tell you, that nothing makes you miss home more than being in a land where freedom isn’t secure on Independence Day.
Independence Day 2012 marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 236 years ago. It represents the beliefs and convictions of the people of a nation and it celebrates the birth of the greatest republic the world has ever known. I have always appreciated Independence Day — the food, friends and family, the day off, the games and fireworks… and largely, even as a boy, the pride and camaraderie of my fellow Americans. I remember decorating my bicycle with red, white and blue, riding proudly in the neighborhood parade with the other children while our parents cheered and feeling, well, like an American. I have always known that it’s more than just a party or a parade. I knew that it was the day we declared ourselves free, but I didn’t truly know what it meant to be free, simply because I was fortunate enough to have always been free. I can appreciate my freedom on a much deeper level now… I have seen what it’s like to not have liberty, freedom, or security, and I can honestly say that I fear nothing in this world more.
I know now that we must be willing to defend our freedom and the hope of freedom for those who do not have it, or to die trying. I’m not sure I knew what that meant 18 years ago, but I have learned exactly what defending freedom entails from some of the finest people I have ever known (I hope I have done them proud). I know that our freedom is worth fighting for and worthy of defending from those who would deny it. I know that we have to uphold our values as Americans and maintain liberty at all costs. We ALL have a responsibility and a stake in our independence. We can all do our part in protecting our freedoms by raising our children, teaching the next generation, voting for our leaders and representatives (and disagreeing with them and each other, when necessary), protesting and changing policies that violate our rights, volunteering, donating blood, time, money or clothes, coaching children in little league, serving in our military, working and paying our share in taxes, and most importantly, by maintaining our solidarity — even amongst all of our differences and diversity. All of these actions provide freedom, and ‘freedom is nothing, but a chance to be better’ said Camus.
If independence is worth fighting for, then it is certainly worth celebrating.
“It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more,” said John Adams, in a letter he wrote to his wife, Abigail, on July 2nd 1776.
I think our Forefathers would be pleased to see how our nation celebrates Independence Day. They would approve of the picnics, fireworks, parades, concerts and flag-flying — all displaying nationalism and pride, the people of a nation taking one day to enjoy and celebrate their freedom and their commonality. It’s easy to forget about freedom and liberty when it has never been taken from you. I believe that’s a good thing, a form of innocence that I hope our nation will always enjoy.
I ask you to remember to APPRECIATE your freedom on this day, not just celebrate it — and be willing, when the time comes to do your part, in whatever form that may take, to preserve it for us all. I wish all of you, your families and your loved ones, a wonderful and safe Independence Day. As for me, I plan on celebrating in all the traditional ways and can promise that a part of me will be grateful to all of you, my brother and sister Americans, for doing your part in protecting my freedom. Happy Fourth of July!
P.S. For some great ways to get more involved with our country, check out the following link!
- Skating to Happiness
- Corporate Challenge: We’re Back!
- Dear Diary
- Everything Makes A Difference
- Rebuilding and Remembering
By: Will Bushelle← Back