Friday, July 3, 2009

What Does July 4th Mean?

Tomorrow, we celebrate Independence Day, not thanks to the military day. We did all that on Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, and next November we will do it on Veteran's Day. Yet, everywhere I go find references to thanking a veteran for July 4th. Nothing against veterans of course, but do not confuse things.

July 4th is not a military holiday. It is the way we celebrate the founding of our country. Yes, we fought a war to achieve it, but that is not the central theme. Somehow or other we keep wanting to bring up wars and veterans sacrifices. We do not celebrate freedom on July 4th. We celebrate freedom from England on that day. England was not a totalitarian country with no freedoms and closed borders. It used heavy handed tactics against the colonies, but it allowed the people to live freely.

Over recent years it seems we have gotten so wrapped up in wars and killing that we have forgotten the real meaning of July 4th. All we seem to really want to do is connect everything with war. When you look in the history section of most bookstores, the majority of the books are military oriented.

Our history is so much more than wars. Yet, for many war means everything. About the only war this country has fought that would have threatened our freedom was WW II. Vietnam, Korea, Spanish American, the Civil War, Iraq I and II, none of these were the result of a direct threat upon our freedom. Mostly, they have been about meddling in other countries' business.

I honor all our veterans and the great sacrifices they have made for their country, no matter whether the war was justified or not. They went because they had made a commitment and it takes great courage to do that. I would have found it very hard to have gone to Iraq over the past six years, had I been in the military. I would have gone, because I had made that commitment to my country, but I would not have like it one bit.

Tomorrow, however, I will be thinking about the founding of this great country and celebrating our independence from Great Britain, not about who fought in what war.


Diane J Standiford said...

Me too.

Dirk said...

However, it's our service men and women, past and present, that have maintained and continue to maintain our freedom. Freedom doesn't continue all by itself. It has to be guarded & protected continually. The very fact we can still celebrate Independence Day, so they should not be set aside today on a technicality. They & their families have paid a high price for that flag we wave every 4th of July.

We should not lose sight of what Independence Day is all about, but we should look at the big picture and thank our service men and women for keeping us free, not just on special observances like today, but every day.