Freedom Post #4

How appropriate that Freedom Post #4 on July 4 corresponds to Book four, Draw Me to Your Side, 1776! The citizens are in the throws of war as their daily lives are disrupted with a real fear and sense of uncertain outcome. Within the chaos exists the organized congress and military both facing success and setbacks as the battles rage. The northern colonies seem so distant from the southern colonies. Charles Town does its best to hold on as a Patriot city with active military all around it.

The powers that be meet in Philadelphia to determine the colonies fate. Then on that world changing day in July, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence! Life as an independent nation begins not with fireworks but with fighting, starvation, riots, and death. It would be a long road to complete separation from Britain.

On August 5, 1776 the citizens of Charles Town gathered around the Liberty Tree for the reading of the Declaration:

“Welcome to this glorious day. A day none of us will forget. For today we realize what we have sacrificed for has now come true. Independence from Britain has been accomplished.”

“Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!” the crowd’s approval, with the waving of flags, handkerchiefs, and hats, emphasized the importance of this momentous occasion.

The reading of the Declaration followed.

How long has it been since you’ve read the Declaration of Independence?

Road to Independence

IMG_0190Happy 4th of July! I have grown to appreciate this celebration. It is more than independence from the rule of another nation. Wrapped up in the meaning is pride in my country and my fellow countrymen. I do remember when I understood or began to understand the love I have for America. While living in England with my family in the 1970s, there were two holidays that suddenly didn’t have an significance to my new “home”–4th of July and Thanksgiving. Well, of course, why would the British claim either of those for national recognition.

I laugh now, but as a child I questioned why everyone didn’t think the 4th of July deserved fireworks, hamburgers, and watermelon. Try asking your British friends where they celebrate. So, my parents explained the history to me, again, and quickly found an American group of patriots living in our area. We cooked out, played games, talked about the United States while respecting the country where we were temporarily living.

I’ve traveled to many countries since that time. Each time I am thankful to set foot on American soil, no offense to any nation or nationality. Yet, I am American and ever so thankful. To me, it is not about politics or benefits, but about freedom, respect, and pride. The nation is not perfect because we as individuals are not perfect, but as long as we continue to make strides toward making our world better then there is hope for all of us.

IMG_0188After lots of research on the American Revolution era (about 45 resources), I’ve tried to determine what it would have been like to live in those troubling years of 1760-1785, more or less. The authoress of Charleston, Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel, worded the struggle about fighting this way: “To understand the hesitation we must remember that many of these men had once fought as Englishmen; and not without a pang of heart, even under deepest provocation, do men fire upon the flag which once was theirs.” War is difficult enough against strangers, but against one’s own relatives and citizens it had to be devastating and soul-wrenching.

 

The Revolution era gave flags like “Join or Die”–Benjamin Franklin and “Don’t Tread on Me”–Christopher Gadsden. For decades the colonists wanted representation and reconciliation. It wasn’t until there seemed to be no other way that separation was an option. The price for unity and forming a new nation was costly in lives, in standard of living, in ties to the rest of the world, in relationships, finances, and historical precedent.

american flagI’m thankful and respectful of the tough, forever changed, challenging decisions the nation’s designers had to make. Today, I will remember the beginning in order to face the future.

How are you celebrating the 4th? Do you have memories that formulated your understanding of this celebration?