Today is a day of parades, picnics, and booms. This has begun to be accepted as tradition even by those new to the Independence Day Celebration. We, with a couple of kids, have enough experiences in the memory bank to name this day enjoyable! ( Well, minus the booms) Throughout, all the celebration today threads the “We hold these truths” theme.
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.
I read this. I marvel and I remember the bits and pieces of history I remember that led to and went behind this cherished masterpiece. Lately I have wanted to read and research more. So much of what we are able to do in this country is because of the story that took place. We don’t realize it until we look again into the Declaration and know what gift we have been given. I read and reread so that I don’t forget the story.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. This is an evident truth to them. All men are created equal. So today at the Fourth of July neighborhood bike parade everybody rode! All different bikes – some invented and decorated. Some not. ( like ours- but next year is the year we will triumph!) Some on training wheels some not. (Yeah- like my girl!) Some who bonked into kids and some that wanted to rev up and move ahead of the leader. Most typical kids. At least one not. But all created equal. All enjoying the excitement of riding behind a real police car with sirens sounding and neighbors standing alongside waving. We are all equal. Being equal was a crucial part the story that brings us this day each year.
Certain unalienable rights. Rights that cannot be taken away. Rights that belong to the kid who wouldn’t tell me her name. Rights that belong to the adult who decided to stay home and not walk the parade with their child. Rights such as Life. Life that we can have here in this country. A Right to Life has been given to us. Life that only we can live. It that means you have only one leg. You have the right to live. If it means you are a Congressman wanna be. You have the right to live. If you have autism. You have been given life. Live this life well. The right all of us neighbors in this average class development are all scratching out. Life is a story of you and I. Don’t forget the story of life that was sacrificed for us on the battlefield AND on the cross.
The right to Liberty- freedom. We are free and not enslaved. We are free to have a swing set in our backyard for entertaining. We are free to wave the American flag on the front porch. We are free to have grill out parties and volleyball games. We can play “God Bless America” on our car stereo system as we parade through the ‘hood. We are free. We can be free to jump up and down and flap
our hands if we are excited at the sight of all the bikes gathering for the parade. This freedom was a gift. Don’t forget that part of the story.
The right to the pursuit of happiness. Who can deny that part of the story? There are those that came here to make dreams come true. Immigrants who came to pursue and prosper here and make this country even greater. There are those who are dreaming about some kind of happiness now. We all have the right to go for it. Nothing not even autism will stand in the way. This is the “all things are possible” given to us in the Declaration of Independence. These dreams are small such as having a Popsicle Stand after the parade. These dreams are big like getting a bigger, and better bike for next years parade. Pursue your happiness because you have been given that right. Don’t forget that part of the story!
There’s more to the Declaration of Independence. It is full of counts of memorable torment and suffering, and brokenness. It if full of forthright decisions that have all led to this our Independence. Don’t forget it was for a better life that this was written. It was for a new and more prosperous country that the sacrifice was made. Don’t forget that part of the story either.
It’s 2013, 237 years later. Because I didn’t want to forget and wanted others to remember, I took some parts of the Declaration and made copies. I gave each family that came to the parade today a snippet of this text. I got many thank- you’s and some were caught off guard. One young girl said she had to memorize it and write it in her own words for schoolwork. Appreciation was expressed. I was happy to remind some of the story through this small act.
I see the future of my kids and my own. I think about the future of this country. Sometimes I just want to shout “Don’t forget the story!” With the signing of this Independence documents we are now to blessed to be a part. This means strive for freedom, life, and the pursuit of happiness. Uphold them and help take part in that in small ways and big. Treat others equally. Take turns. Mingle with your neighbors. Pursue dreams. Live freely and respect that freedom others have as well. Allow others to experience the same rights. Enjoy them together.
Sometimes I fear we may have forgotten the story. Sometimes it seems we have been too far away from this priceless foundation supporting and effecting our safety and happiness. If our forgetfulness or even ignorance is too common, we will then just consider this just another day. A rain on our parade. A spoiling of our picnics. A silence of the booms. Don’t forget the story.