Monday, July 4, 2016
A Moment for National Heritage
If you're an American—whether currently living here or abroad—you recognize this day as the one in which we celebrate our independence. Whether yours is a family whose roots reach back to the years of colonial settlers to this country or one which was a more recent arrival, this is our shared heritage: a celebration of freedom.
Freedom, of course, can have many definitions—especially in this politically-sensitized election year, where it seems every word in the English language is up for re-definition and re-engineering. But that first, hard-won freedom had a very clear mission from the beginning. And, as has so often been repeated, that freedom wasn't free. It came with a price. The things we pay dearly for, we value highly.
That price wasn't just paid once. We've had to maintain that freedom through responsible stewardship of that trust. We'll likely only keep it as long as we remember that part of the bargain. That's part of our heritage, as well.
Somewhere in the midst of the parades, the pool parties, the barbecues, the homemade ice cream, and all the family get-togethers, let that remembrance of heritage fill its part in the celebration. It is, after all, the start of what got us the privileges we enjoy today.
Above: German-American immigrant John Lewis Krimmel painted this scene of the Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square, Philadelphia, in 1819, ten years after his arrival in Philadelphia; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.