Thursday, July 4, 2019

E Pluribus Unum

We may be fascinated to view the rundown of ethnicities in our personal DNA reports, but when it comes to the American holiday of Independence Day—more simply known as the Fourth of July—rather than retreating to our disparate ethnic roots, it is recalling the common values of an American way of life that keeps us blended together. E pluribus unum was not some clever slogan developed for that purpose, though it has been in use since adopted by Congress in 1782. The thirteen-letter Latin phrase reflected on the thirteen colonies and their resultant strengthening by combining into one nation. We can still profit from that lesson.

That process evolved from a declaration issued six years prior—the same event we celebrate today with picnics, parades, and pyrotechnics at parks. The price paid to bring us to this point may seem to recede in this light-hearted atmosphere. All too soon, we're launched back into the workaday grind of political forces which seem to want to tear us apart as a nation. Perhaps taking the time—at least in this twenty four hour respite—to refocus on what has brought us together as a country will serve to strengthen any resolve to recall that out of many, we arose as one. It's a memory we badly need to regain in our national consciousness.

Above: Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square, Philadelphia; 1819 painting by John Lewis Krimmel; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.

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