By PETTUS READ
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. – From the Declaration of Independence
Once again, we prepare to celebrate another July 4th to mark the event that changed our part of the world back in 1776. Those men who made up the Continental Congress, and met in an extremely hot Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, adopted a document that shaped history and their lives forever. All of the 56 signers faced extreme hardships due to their act of courage to secure liberty for this country. In fact, all of those who joined in the fight for America’s independence from that time forward fought against odds way beyond their ability, but not beyond their determination.
In a recent news report from the The Old Farmer’s Almanac.com website, they quoted John Adams, making a statement to his wife Abigail, about what would be the results from his actions and his fellow signers by putting their name on that document 235 years ago. Besides being an individual with a lot of courage and foresight, he could also even predict the future, because he said we would be selling fireworks in large colorful tents beside the road and cooking hamburgers to celebrate our freedom. Not so much in those words, but he did tell Abigail the day after signing the Declaration of Independence, “This day will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more."
I hope this year you are going to take John Adams’ advice and celebrate July 4th with plenty of pomp and illuminations. We spend all year talking about what is wrong in this country on TV and among ourselves, but I hope at least we use July 4th to celebrate what is right.
Just as John Adams and the other 55 men saw the need to do something to preserve our liberty, today we have thousands of young men and women in the Armed Forces from our rural communities and cities fighting in distant lands to continue to preserve those freedoms, as well as the freedoms of others. In our celebrations, let’s also take time out to support them this Fourth and salute our flag with dignity when it passes by. Give them your support by saluting a member of the Armed Forces when you meet them on the street and let them know you care, as well as appreciate them for what they do.
Each day, I see “Support Our Troops” magnets on trucks, SUVs, automobiles and other modes of transportation. It is good to see our citizens backing our troops. Let’s do even more to show our pride this Fourth by flying our flags and placing our hands over our hearts when the “Star Spangled Banner” is played. The Fourth of July is more than a holiday. It is a celebration of freedom, our way of life, and a love for our country. Take time this 4th of July to visit a community event, firework display with patriotic music, or walk through a national cemetery.
Make your day off more than just a holiday; make it a celebration of pride in community and country. John Adams predicted you would do it 235 years ago and we shouldn’t let our founding father down… especially on the 4th of July.
-- Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org