Today, July 4, marks the annual United States celebration of Independence Day, a holiday commemorating the day in 1776 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Declaration of Independence remains one of the most important documents in history of the United States as it is the piece of writing that proclaims the country’s freedom from British rule. The document states that the then 13 colonies of the United States would henceforth be sovereign states, under the command of no foreign land.
“The Declaration of Independence outlines the grievances that the colonists had against King George III and the English Parliament,” explains Gabrielle M. Bray, Gifted Coordinator. “More importantly, though, the Declaration of Independence establishes the ideas of equal rights and inalienable rights. While the definitions of equal rights and inalienable rights have evolved over time, the basic principle that the government rules at the will and by the consent of the people still exists. As issues have changed and more special interests have begun to impact politics and our democratic process in the United States, this principle becomes one that we must never forget.
“We celebrate Independence Day to honor those who fought to gain our rights and freedoms and to celebrate the movement that gave birth to our nation,” Bray continues. “Our evolution to becoming the democratic nation we are today began with the freedom fighters of the revolutionary movement.”
Americans continue to celebrate this day and take it as an occasion to celebrate all the freedoms afforded to them as citizens of the United States.
Different U.S. cities celebrate in different ways.
“Different regions within our nation have specific traditions that they have carried on for years,” Bray says. “In New England, it is tradition to eat salmon on Independence Day. This practice began right after the colonies gained their independence from Great Britain. In Coney Island, the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hotdog Eating Contest has taken place for 94 years! In San Francisco, the San Francisco Mime Troupe opens their performing season with a free performance in a local park each year.”
On this occasion, no matter how it is observed, the sacrifices of our forefathers should be reflected upon.
As Bray says: “We should all remember that freedom is not free. It always comes with a price. Many people have given their lives to protect our freedom. Therefore, we need to honor our nation and others and always respect our nation as a model of democracy at work.”
On behalf of the entire Laurel Springs School faculty and staff, we wish you a joyful fourth of July. Wherever you may be in the world, let freedom ring!