Why do we celebrate the 4th of July? July 4, 1776, was the day we declared our independence from Great Britain. The document which contained that declaration was the Declaration of Independence, which was approved by Congress on July 4, 1776.
The Declaration of Independence represents our core beliefs as Americans. It is a guidepost for what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America. The concepts contained in the Declaration of Independence unite us as Americans. The Declaration of Independence is just as relevant for us today as it was for the first citizens of our country. Although we live in a time when many are challenging our American heritage as well as our core beliefs as Americans, I believe the concepts contained in the Declaration of Independence will continue to stand the test of time.
The Declaration of Independence has proven itself to be a timeless document. For instance, it was in the Declaration of Independence that Thomas Jefferson first penned those most famous words, “that all men are created equal.” American society has been slowly reconciling itself to the true meaning of what it means to be equal ever since Jefferson wrote those words. You see, those words have become timeless.
The Declaration of Independence established that rights come from God. Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence that it is a self-evident truth that God has endowed human beings with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” While Jefferson referred to God as our “Creator,” he was clearly referring to the Supreme Being responsible for the existence and design of the human race, and few, if any, would have understood that Being to be different than the God of the Bible at the time when Jefferson first penned the document. Consequently, it is imperative that we understand that these rights come from God, and because they come from God, they cannot be tampered with or infringed upon. The only exception is when a person seeks to deny these rights to another human being, especially another American citizen.
The Declaration of Independence carefully justifies the overthrowing of tyrants. Jefferson reserved most of the space in the Declaration of Independence for outlining the despotism of King George III. He wanted the whole world to know what a rotten and tyrannical king the British people had ruling over them. As Americans, we despise tyranny in all of its forms. The United States of America was founded firmly upon the principle of freedom for all. But, again, that freedom cannot be used as a means to deny others of their freedoms. Whenever governments become so oppressive that they deny basic freedoms to the people they are supposed to serve, the people become justified in abolishing their form of government and instituting a new one. But contrary to the flimsy reasons offered for establishing the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ, but now CHOP), such as the unestablished accusation that the Seattle Police department is beyond reform, Jefferson went through great pains to root his reasons for revolution in established facts. Hence, he wrote, “To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world,” and then he went on to list those facts.
American patriotism is an appropriate reaction to reading and understanding these truths contained in the Declaration of Independence. Our knowledge and devotion to these foundational principles ought to incubate in our hearts a love and respect for our country. As Americans we should love our country dearly because we are a truly free people, we should revere our founding documents because of the timeless truths they proclaim, and we should honor the American flag because it represents everything that is distinctly American. This year, I hope you will celebrate Independence Day with newfound American pride in your heart, love for your fellow American, and thankfulness to God for the gift that has become the United States of America.