2012-06-28 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Look Around You On Independence Day — And Be Thankful
By Charles Rogers

The Fourth of July takes place on a Wednesday this year, next Wednesday, right in the middle of the week. Some will take a few days off ahead of it; some will wait and take the latter days of the week off.

Or neither. And the rest of us will just do some celebrating on the day itself.

Anyway, I hope you have a good time. While you’re at it, though, it might be a good idea to give an extra patriotic thought to the whys and wherefores of the day and what it means and, for a moment, be thankful.

It took the revolution of a group of immigrants to this land to set us up as a nation. At the time they were called mavericks and revolutionaries and they had a dream, so they gathered together on this continent thousands of miles away from their homeland and decided to do their own thing.

They marched to a different drummer.

In recent years we’ve been reading and hearing of the thousands upon thousands of mavericks throughout the world, from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya, who yearn to be free from tyranny or other forms of government detrimental to their way of life; detrimental to what we proudly call freedom. They want their independence just as we did 236 years ago and we have an obligation to at least understand their cause. Sure, the circumstances are different with other countries — but we must not forget that the principal is the same — the will to be free. This week Egypt was embroiled in electing a new government. There is violence, to be sure, because they have to decide what form of government they want. They are still trying to decide whether they will have their first democratically elected president — or to continue the civil unrest.

At the same time, there is the situation in Syria, where even the United Nations is afraid to interfere because there might be more bloodshed. How long can the Western countries — even other nations — stand by and see this disaster continue?

Throughout the world we see people who are unhappy with their lot in life — and they yearn to do something about it.

Take up your history books and compare what is happening in the world now with what our forefathers faced more than two centuries ago. They knew they would be purged, but, with determination, perseverance and guts, the people on this side of the Atlantic said no one was going to tell them how to conduct their lives within constricted laws, nor would anyone dictate to whom they would pay homage, what religion they would pursue or what they MUST do. As long as there was moral justice in their cause, they would establish their own nation over here and govern themselves.

The Revolutionary War ensued and — wonder of wonders — the mavericks won. It took thousands of lives, a shrewd philosophy and, of course, the grace of God to win, but they won.

It was the will of the people.

In 1776 we had the ethics and the philosophy, plus the leadership, to establish something that was truly “our own.” We had the morals and will, and, with Washington and Jefferson and Adams and Franklin and those “men of thought,” in the forefront, how could we go wrong? It was the idea of freedom of the individual that counted most, and it was that idea that was paramount in the minds of those early arms-bearers and freedom fighters.

So, when Wednesday comes around, have reason to celebrate. While you’re turning the hotdogs over on the grill; while you’re alone with your thoughts as you spread the tablecloth or while you’re washing the car, reflect for a moment on that struggle over two centuries ago and its comparison to events in those hot spots around the world even now.

There is, after all, a comparison; and there is, after all, a reason to be thankful.

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