It’s the Fourth of July, 2019, and I sometimes wonder how many people give thought to what the Fourth is really about. Yes, it’s the day we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, which originally was independence from rule under the thumb of the King of England. But many of us just think of it as a day, sometimes two days, off work – a day to go camping or boating, watch parades and fireworks, get sunburns and eat hot dogs. We forget what our ancestors suffered to reach the freedom too many people take for granted today.

          Our original settlers came here to get away from totalitarian rule, and they eventually built their own Nation, wrote their own laws, and planned their own form of government, which, above all, established individual freedoms one could never enjoy under a dictatorship.

          “Of the People, By the People, For the People.” Our government is supposed to represent all of that, and we therefore get to vote for those who will run the government with the PEOPLE in mind. Sometimes it seems things don’t always turn out that way, but for the most part, we are still the greatest, the richest, most free Nation in the world, where the PEOPLE run things, and where entrepreneurs who work hard can realize their dreams.

          Few people today think about what it took to build this Nation. They don’t think about the lives and fortunes that were sacrificed so they could live with today’s freedoms. For me, the Fourth of July brings to mind early settlers who risked their lives on ships that originally came here over a dangerous ocean, who risked their lives associating with America’s original natives, who risked their lives fighting a very powerful King’s rule, who risked their lives against the elements of weather, disease, wild animals, torrential rivers, unsurmountable mountains, blazing hot deserts, the lack of doctors and the conveniences we have today. 
          It brings to mind people who walked across this nation without the kind of shoes and clothing we have today, people who faced mosquitos and flash-flooded canyons, stampeding buffalo and warring Indians who didn’t care for our intrusion, grassland with sod so thick that the common plow could not turn it, prairie fires or dense wooded areas where it was next to impossible to create a roadway, mountains so high that wagons and horses and oxen had to be lowered by rope to the other side. Women left children buried behind them, graves never to be visited again. 
          I have no doubt that the average person today, including me, could never withstand the rugged sacrifices made by the early pilgrims and the emigrants who came after them and dared to search for their dreams farther and farther west. There were no fast cars, no highways, no 7-11’s, no doctors or dentists, no pain shots or pills, and often no water. There was no suntan lotion, no treatments for snakebite, no soft beds, no showers and baths, no cold beer at the end of a long, hot day.

           There was only determination, bravery and big dreams – dreams that were always just beyond the never-ending western horizon. There was big-sky country, magnificent mountains, endless prairie, and space to stretch your arms and imagination into land ownership that few people in other countries, other than the richest Lords and Princes, could enjoy, and for many years here in America, that land was free, as long as it was farmed and utilized.

          Today we can do what we want, speak what we want, realize our own dreams and travel any place in the country, completely free to do those things without the worry of some dictator throwing us in prison without a trial. Today we take all these things for granted, but our ancestors did not. We should remember them, honor them, thank them, and make sure we never fall back into a type of government that rules our lives to the point where we need to fight all over again for our individual freedoms.

          Enjoy 2019’s INDEPENDENCE DAY, and pray for the souls of those who made such a celebration possible.


Post a Comment