Veterans Column: Fourth of July Carries Deeper Meaning for Some
By Donna Lockwood, GCVF “Mobile Veteran Outreach” Team Member and Daughter of a Korean War Combat Veteran
What pops into your head when someone mentions the Fourth of July?
To civilians, chances are it is barbecues, flags, parades, throwing back a few cold ones and watching the night sky light up. There is so much more to it than that.
To veterans, the loved ones of the fallen, current service members and their families, it is Independence Day. On July Fourth, they celebrate the country and the independence they and their loved ones were willing to sacrifice their lives for.
Perhaps this Independence Day, all can join our veterans in truly appreciating what our independence and freedom mean as well as the cost to achieve it.
Let us remember that without the men and women who willingly sacrifice their lives to secure our freedom, we would have no Fourth of July to celebrate.
Independence Day is a day unlike any other. It is a day to remember what life was like restrained, regulated and controlled.
With COVID-19 forcing most people to stay home, many feel like caged animals, like their independence and freedoms have been taken away. Just as the 13 colonies harnessed their anger against Great Britain and banded together to fight for their freedom, so we, in many ways, must do the same to defeat this virus.
Our Independence Day was born out of anger. Why were our predecessors so outraged?
They believed they were unfairly taxed, they were forced to lodge British soldiers and they were forbidden to expand into the western territories. Basically, they were weary of being controlled.
Likewise, in today’s times of crisis, many feel confined and constrained. Unlike our forefathers who faced life and death decisions in their quest for liberty, we as a nation can peacefully pursue our liberties. We must learn lessons from our history and unite in order to survive as a free country.
Our Founding Fathers established a right to protest where there was injustice. In their anger against Great Britain, colonists demonstrated in many ways, most famously was the Boston Tea party, but perhaps just as meaningful and effective were their mock funerals for King George III.
This was their way to symbolize the end of the monarchy’s hold on America. We can be as innovative demonstrating our right to protest. The Declaration of Independence established this right by giving us a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Without government there is anarchy. We need to remember that principle in these times of conflict.
When the Declaration of Independence proclaimed our liberty, it was a time to rejoice. On this Independence Day, remember what our predecessors fought for. Let’s abate any anger and celebrate.
Remember that the birth of this nation came with the loss of life paid by heroes willing to sacrifice everything that we may know how precious our freedom and liberty truly are.
Thomas Jefferson authored his last letter on July 2, 1826. In it, he proclaimed the importance of Independence Day.
“For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”
Jefferson, one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, died two days later on the Fourth of July.
Source: VC Star article from June 29, 2020