‘Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.’ Wikipedia
‘At the second Continental Congress during the summer of 1776, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia was charged with drafting a formal statement justifying the 13 North American colonies’ break with Great Britain. A member of a five man committee that included John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, Jefferson drew up a draft and included Franklin’s and Adams’ corrections. At the time, the Declaration of Independence was regarded as a collective effort of the Continental Congress; Jefferson was not recognized as its principal author until the 1790s.’ History
Two Hundred and forty-two years ago we, rebels, decided that we had enough of the king of England’s’ abuse and domination.
‘We hold these truths to be self-Evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Declaration of Independence
‘That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,…’ Declaration of Independence
We live in a country that that was founded on the freedom of the people to form their own government that best reflected their needs and best interest.
July 4, 1776 was a declaration against tyrants and dictators and a recognition that ‘…
all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’
The vision of the United States, that was held by our forefathers was a country of freedom and opportunity and acceptance of the ‘unalienable rights of man.’
Now the writers of the Declaration of Independence, vision did not comport with their reality.
Many of them, including the author of the document Thomas Jefferson, were slave owners.
When referring to the king of England, Jefferson wrote, ‘He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose know rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.’
But, this is the story of our nation…we have learned and grown through the sweat and blood and tears and sufferings of large groups of peoples who we have not recognized as our equals…and, alas, we have not measured-up, to our founding document…on numerous occasions.
We are still trying to be the men and women that the Declaration of Independence calls for.
At our countries best moments…we have been a brilliant beacon of hope for the Earth’s oppressed.
We are a young country and an experiment in social justice and the international rights of humanity…
We are, currently, being tested regarding our commitment to, ‘He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.’ Declaration of Independence
‘Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people?’ Desmond Tutu
‘A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.’ Muslim Origin
‘Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.’ Malcom Forbes
‘Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity.’ Robert Kennedy
‘An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.’ Martin Luther King Jr.
‘It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.’ Maya Angelou
We visited an American cemetery in Tunis, Tunisia that had the most lovely grave markers and it was maintained in an immaculate manner. Our Muslim tour guide wept when he recounted the sacrifices that American G.I.s had given to defend his country during the Second World War.
On the white and glistening grave stones were Star of David and the Crescent and Star and the Christian Cross and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Hindu and the Buddhist.
When I was the chair of the civil service council at Southern Illinois University I witnessed a heated exchange between an African American member of the council and a white member of the group.
As we were discussing our attempt, and ultimate success in obtaining Veteran’s Day as a university holiday…the Caucasian member of the council said that if we could recognize Martin Luther King’s birthday…we could recognize Veterans’s Day.
The African American member responded that she did not recognize the Fourth of July as it certainly was not her people’s independence day.
Now, if your people had come to this country as slaves and you did not have voting rights until the 1960s and you lived with the constant fear of the Ku Klux Klan and lynching and Jim Crowe…how would you feel?
I love our flag and or country…but it does not make me any difference how my African American brothers and sisters choose to recognize it…as this is their country as much as it is my country…and we will either succed together…or we will all fail… in this grand journey from the cradle to the grave.