As you read our latest edition of the Coastal Breeze News we are closing in on another July 4th holiday and the celebration of 242 years since we declared our independence from old King George. Now mind you, it wasn’t a universally embraced endeavor. Approximately 40 to 45% of the population within the original 13 colonies supported the Patriots, while 15 to 20% were in opposition. The remainder took no position of the revolt which would lead to the creation of
The Constitutional Congress had actually voted secretly on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was finally published on July 4 and the first public reading of the document was held on July 8. It was the first step in the creation of what we know today as the United States of America.
We would later see the creation of the Bill of Rights, as written by James Madison that guaranteed the constitutional protection for individual rights. Other precursors to our Bill of Rights included English documents such as the Magna Carta, amongst others.
I sat yesterday at Mackle Park and watched children play and run around this wonderful asset we have as a community. Seeing these boys play freely in a nation which had its origins in the eyes of visionaries from the 13 original states 242 years ago is kind of mind boggling. To think ordinary men had a vision for a nation and a system of governance that would endure all these years and through all the challenges placed before it is simply amazing when one takes the time to think about it.
Those two boys and the freedoms and opportunities they have been afforded started as a dream for a better life for 58 men who literally signed their death warrants by affixing their signatures to a document which is today revered around the world.
The solemn legacy of our founders is often pushed aside by our desire to enjoy but another holiday. We should instead take a moment to reflect on the wonder of their commitment to putting into motion an incredible series of events which would lead to the people we are today.
Americans should remember as they celebrate July 4th that it is also called Independence Day for a reason. It should not be lost during the barbecues, fireworks celebrations, concerts, and parades. The holiday was established to reflect on the meaning of those sacrifices which were undertaken almost two and a half centuries ago.
Those freedoms have been secured by generations of men and woman who have worn the uniform of this country. They never faltered in their calls to duty; whether it was in the cold days of the American Revolution, when the next meal was never promised or a warm blanket sometimes wanting. Through the gut wrenching experience of a Civil War, which saw families fractured along philosophical lines and a call to conscience regarding the rights of all men.
Our reluctant entrance into World War I, until the threats to our own security were uncovered when the details of the “Zimmerman Telegram” were released that threatened our free passage over the seas by Germany.
We would again be called upon to enter another deadly conflict when the world was threatened by a diabolical tyranny which threatened the entire free world during WWII.
Korea, Vietnam, Granada, Panama and the War Against Terror have also tested our resolve as a nation and as a people.
Our resolve as a nation and our strong commitment to those early documents which founded this great nation are the pillars of our democracy. Our willingness to commit time, talent, treasure, and yes, the lives of some of our bravest and brightest, speaks volumes to our continued commitment.
Small white crosses are adorned on the shores, mountains and deserts of nations who are still free due to our commitment to stand by our allies and pay any price to secure the our rights and those of men and woman around the world who thirst for freedom and to throw off the shackles of tyranny and oppression.
Two hundred forty-two years ago, 58 men put into motion an historical idea that men and women have a right to determine their own destiny. Today those freedoms and the ideals of democracy continue to burn brightly from our shores because of those original Patriots whom we should celebrate on July 4.
God Bless America.
Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced award-winning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at Stef@coastalbreezenews.com