Independence Day Reflections
It could be argued there has never been an Independence Day in American history like Independence Day 2020. America is feeling the constraints of a deadly virus unlike anything known to our generation. Economic turmoil is affecting businesses and workers throughout our land. Political consensus and decorum have largely been abandoned in favor of accusations and intrigue, finger pointing and blame placing. Civic demonstrations and social unrest — both peaceful and violent — have occupied the streets of large cities and rural hamlets.
No wonder many question aloud, Has it ever been this bad?
The First Independence Day
244 years ago, the quest for America’s future, freedom and independence hung in the balance. On April 19, 1775, first blood was spilled at Lexington and Concord during the first skirmish of the Revolutionary War. In the following months, American colonists faced hardship after hardship. Their land was occupied by a superior and well-equipped force.
Their desire for freedom was clear. But it would require brave men to stand strong for their families, friends, neighbors and countrymen and women. The conflict intensified and the burden became more cumbersome. Then on July 2, 1776, General George Washington, Commander In Chief of the Continental Army wrote: “The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army.”
American “soldiers” of the day, according to historian and author, David McCullough in his book, 1776, were actually “…men of every shape, size and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts and mere boys turned soldiers.”
McCullough observed: “The darkest hours of that tumultuous year were as dark as any Americans have known. …(the year) 1776 is a powerful testimony to how much is owed to a rare few in that brave founding. …and what a miracle it was that things turned out as they did.”
A Call for Patriots Then…and Now
The months following America’s Declaration of Independence required an unwavering “call to arms.” Not only for citizen soldiers, but for each and every American patriot. In the December 1776 issue of his publication, Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote: “…These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country: but he that stands now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
I am but one person. But I wish to stand for the good and the sacrifice which has secured our freedom. Today I prepare to acknowledge and celebrate Independence Day 2020. But I realize the burdens are heavy for many of my family, friends and countrymen and women.
Despite the current anxiety I feel regarding the physical wellbeing of my neighbors and the frustration I feel regarding current political affairs. Even though I feel isolated and separated from family and friends and I feel pain for brothers and sisters who have been marginalized because of their skin color. Despite of all this, I remain thankful for a country who has its children rise up to acknowledge, defend and celebrate the freedoms we enjoy.
May God continue to bless the United States of America.
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