The 4th of July was a big deal in my family. Before breakfast we would “put the flag up”-the whole family would go out to the front yard, we would put up the flag and salute. (This morning I got up early and put our flag up and saluted the heavens to greet my dad). Dad would talk about the importance and responsibilities of freedom. He lived those lessons every single day. He taught us to listen with a critical, not cynical ear. Right before the 4th he would take us shopping and let each of us get something red white and blue to wear. Such a sweet tradition. He spent 2 years in the Marines before marrying my mom. He definitely had street cred! The 4th of July is special to me because of the lessons dad taught me. It is the day when I miss him the most of all yet I cherish the day because he taught me how to do so.
If Yankee Doodle Dandy was on TV on the 4th (or any other day for that matter) we would all watch it together. The scene in the White House where George M. Cohan (Jimmy Cagney) thanks FDR and then subsequently tap dances down the staircase always made dad (and me) cry. You can see it right here! http://youtu.be/v1rkzUIL8oc
We saw the movie 1776 in the theater and on TV in subsequent years. Both of these movies touch my heart. Any student that I tutor in US history gets my recommendation to rent/buy and watch 1776. Gosh if you haven’t seen it, please do. It is the story of the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence and it is One Terrific Movie. It highlights some of the compromises made during the process, and shows that opposing camps could and did come together.
The lessons we learn in childhood echo throughout our lives. The lessons in patriotism, and the cherishing of the 4th of July ring true in my heart. It tears at my heart to see division and vitriol, and I pray that someday the vitriol will cease. In the meantime, I am including some of my favorite quotes. By this time in my life I do have friends in many countries–and people who follow my blog and reach out to my life. On this, my country’s birthday, I wish everyone everywhere joy, friendship, love, and peace.
“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” ~ Adlai Stevenson
“The responsibility of a country is not in the hands of a privileged few. We are strong, and we are free from tyranny as long as each one of us remembers his or her duty as a citizen. Speak out. Ask those questions. Demand that truth. Democracy is not a free ride, man. I’m here to tell you. but this is where we live. And if we do our job, this is where our children will live. God bless America.”
” A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as “our rebellion.” It is only in the third person – “their rebellion” – that it becomes illegal” ~ Benjamin Franklin
” Those who would give up some of their liberty in order to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”. ~ Benjamin Franklin
Of course, here is my favorite. I am certain that you have seen it before. Today—it bears repeating.
|The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated: