Independence Day means so much more than a day off

by | Jul 4, 2024 | 5 Ag Stories, News

Today, as most of us enjoy a day off work, we should take the time to reflect on what the 4th of July means. 248 years ago, men from across a fledgling nation sat in a small room in Philadelphia and found a way to put aside their differences and come to an mutually beneficial agreement for most of the people in the country at that time.

Now, we can look back through the lens of history and realize that the ideas presented that day didn’t extend to every man woman, and child in the country. It’s taken a harrowing growing process for us to realize that when we say that all our rights are guaranteed for every person in this country, we truly mean every person in this country.

No matter if you agree with a person’s beliefs, lifestyles, race, or religion, the basic rights that we enjoy as citizens are available to everyone. They’re not just available to the people you agree with. That was the hallmark of what the Declaration of Independence was built upon. Yes, it was an imperfect document, but it was the perfect document we needed at that time. It’s taken time for us to realize what that document can truly mean. And we haven’t had to change the document for us to realize its true potential.

Many of you may have taken exception to what I just said, some of you are very firm in your beliefs of where our rights should be limited, made unavailable, or how those rights are being used to promote things you may not agree with. However, that is not how this country works. Many people in this country have been willing to defend those rights whether they’ve been used in agreement with their beliefs or not. They may not like what you have to say, but they will defend to the death your right to say it.

These problems are not new to the people of the United States. When you look back at the history of that day in 1776, you’ll see that it wasn’t an easy road to get all those signatures on the Declaration of Independence. Even that very morning, there were people in that room who were still very loyal to the crown of Britain. They could not imagine a country or a world in which they were not beneficiaries of the English empire. It took a lot of debate, reassurance, and quite frankly a hot-headed letter from the sovereign of Great Britain coupled with a threat to hang every man in that room, to change their minds.

We’re in the midst of a presidential election year once again. It seems like we’re more divided now than we ever have been before. While it may seem that way, it is truly not the case. You only must go back 160 years to find out that we were more divided than we are now. We haven’t quite gotten to the point of declaring war on each other. However, we need to take a step back and wake up. We’re being divided by the people who we send to represent us, and by people who are very brave once they get behind a monitor and a keyboard, and would not have the guts to say what they say to another person’s face. We need to wake up and realize that our differences are nothing new. We need to do what generations before us have done and to find a way to work through those differences for the common good of everybody in the country.

A few years back, I had the opportunity to spend the 4th of July in Philadelphia and stand in the room where the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Just like it was 248 years ago, it was a hot and humid day. Standing in that room I suddenly got a new appreciation for the work that was done so many years ago. I’ve also been fortunate enough to gaze upon the Declaration of Independence in Washington DC. Those two events have solidified the ideals of that document for me. When you gaze upon a document that is almost 250 years old, and if not for a piece of glass you could reach out and touch it; it makes everything much more real. The document still exists 248 years later. The room in which it was signed and the tables at which it was agreed upon still stand. Now those are our physical representations of the fact that this country still stands. Like the document, The United States is not in the same shape that it was on a July day in 1776. It has aged. It has been looked upon by the eyes of people of different walks of life, countries of origin, and viewpoints. And no matter how those eyes have perceived that room and that document, they can fully appreciate what it took to help build this country.

We are experiencing turmoil. We are at a crossroads for the future of this country. And while the voices are very loud on both sides of the argument over the future of this country, there are cooler heads that can hopefully still prevail. Some people are realizing more and more that we are heading in a direction that is not going to be good for any of us. When the people in this country can sit down and talk to each other in a civilized manner, this country will be capable of great things. It shouldn’t take a disaster to bring us all together for the common good of our citizens. Deep down, we’re all mostly good people. We wouldn’t stand for anybody being abused, oppressed, or downtrodden by our very own government. Let us try to embrace the spirit of our founding fathers in July of 1776. Let us not look at every shortcoming that we’ve had since that day. Let’s look at how we’ve been able to grow, overcome, and develop a nation that should work for everybody.

When you’re enjoying your Independence Day cookouts, your fireworks displays, or however you will celebrate our country’s birthday; think back on the bravery of those men in Philadelphia, the bravery of the people that have helped take that vision, correct it, and mold it into what it has become. Think about how you can honor the vision of this country and make it a better place for every man woman and child in it.

Happy Independence Day!