On this Fourth of July, I know a lot of people who have celebration plans. I know others who can’t bring themselves to celebrate, in light of certain humanitarian crises created by our own government with no remorse and no intention of mitigating anything any time soon. And I know of some who are all gung ho for a display of military might in Washington, DC because why shouldn’t there be?
July 4th is not about the flag. We have a day for that too.
It’s not about the national anthem, which was written in response to an attack on a fort during the War of 1812. The song did not become a national anthem until much later.
July 4th commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Not the Revolutionary War. By July 4, 1776, the war had already been ongoing, and George Washington had already been the head of the Continental Army for months.
No, America chose to commemorate the day a bunch of civilians signed a document setting forth the reasons for rebellion against the colonial mother country. That’s what today, July 4th, celebrates. That document and those principles.
Not the chest thumping, military muscle flexing that many try to rub into everyone’s faces. I have nothing against our military or veterans, but this day was not carved out to honor the military, but rather the civilian and the ideals that fostered the revolution.
It’s not about American might and power. It’s to commemorate a bunch of underdogs, who really had little chance of succeeding when they chose to throw all in with rebellion and enunciate their reasons for doing so in writing.
And yes, I think the day is better served by having a picnic with my family than holding some huge military parade in Washington, DC. It think it’s served even better by reading the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. All you diehard patriots out there should do the same.
This government was set up by the founding fathers to be run by civilians, not the military. Not one president has been active military. Not one. That is by design. The commander-in-chief is not intended to actually be a serving general. Instead serving generals are intended to answer to civilians.
The 4th of July is not about celebrating the military yet again and giving it yet another holiday. It’s about celebrating the principles of civilians who struggled with the treasonous question of rebellion and whether it was justified. It’s about the nation they founded based on those principles.
So today consider taking the time to learn about what those people said and, thus, why we actually commemorate this day. Give the words of the Declaration of Independence a look.
“… 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..The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world…”