Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

Independence Day -- a day of celebration, of remembrance, of reflection and patriotism. A day when we recognize the birth of America, the foundations of our country and the beliefs that our founding fathers held when they determined that tyrannical rule would no longer be acceptable on this continent.

But what does that mean exactly? They’re pretty words -- they conjure up emotions of pride for many. Yet, to two different people (or 300 million) they can mean totally different things.

“Patriotism” to one person can mean something completely different to another. One person may view patriotism as an unyielding respect for the nation you reside in; another may see it as reason why you must never yield complete respect, must always strive for improvement within your homeland. This wide range of definitions, derived just from a single word, is why the Fourth of July is perhaps more meaningful than any one ideology can come up with.

For it isn’t the definition of Independence Day that matters most: the day is more symbolic than that, more uniting than any political belief can be. It means the same to a Democrat that it does to a Republican, is important to both liberals and conservatives.

We may be divisive a good portion of our political lives. We may disagree on most everything that comes our way. But for this one day, this recognition of the American idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- even if that means totally different things to different people -- that's what this day stands for. We’re one people even when we’re not; E Pluribus Unum, out of many we are one.

On this Independence Day, we should keep that in mind, use it to further our nation, our state, our communities forward. It has been through that sentiment that our nation has lasted for over 230 years. And it’s through that sentiment our nation, our people, will continue to persist.

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