Exactly 230 years ago Wednesday, America celebrated its very first Independence Day. I'm not sure what the first celebration looked like, but we recognize it today by picnics, parades, and fireworks.
Officially, the Fourth of July marks America's split from Britain's haphazard rule, the beginning of the American Revolution, and the birth of the Declaration of Independence.
That document talks about our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but it also says that we must secure those rights by participating. Basically, our right to happiness depends on us recognizing liberty and democracy, and a broad participation in those values.
William Faulkner said, "We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it."
So consider this: it's easy for all of us to lose the meaning of the holiday. Our forefathers intended us to take time to practice our freedom.
I'm going to do that by teaching my boys why we go to the parades, why we picnic, and why we watch the fireworks; that our way of life in America is special; and that there are people fighting for us right now, so we can be active participants in our own future.
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