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Are we waiving respect for Independence Day?

Independence Day: Have we forgotten?

Has Independence Day become more about picnics and fireworks than a respectful reflection of our freedom?

American flags will waive this week in observance of July 4, 1776, the day we claimed independence from England. Formal ceremonies will be held in many cities and towns. But most of us will pass up the solemn events in favor of parades and festivals.

Even though our children get history lessons in school and can access tons of information about the birth of America online, it seems the story of our nation’s birth 240 years ago is clouded by big parties and festivals.

John Raughter, director of The American Legion, Indiana area, hopes that all U.S. citizens take a moment to remember the true meaning of the holiday.

“The American Legion believes all Americans should reflect upon and appreciate the greatness that is the United States of America.,” he said. “Our freedoms are only possible because of men and women who stepped up and defended those freedoms. Independence Day is another time to remember the approximately one million men and women who died in defense of this country in all wars since the American Revolution.”
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Independence Day typically means backyard barbecues, parties and other events with little reference to American history. Photo by Totally Promotional.

If you’re not a history buff, this whole topic is probably a bore. And I realize it’s much more fun to grill out with loved ones on July 4th than attend a somber ceremony with speakers. I get it.

Should we do more?

Still, I can’t help wonder if we shouldn’t be a little more focused on the history behind the day. I’m afraid that someday kids will associate the holiday with barbecues and sparklers, not the freedoms we enjoy in this great country.

Should we plan more activities this weekend to instill and preserve the knowledge of our history? Got any ideas? Please take a moment to comment and share this blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

As a holiday refresher, did you know,

  • the colonists started a revolution because they were tired of being taxed by the British government, in which they had no vote or say?
  • it all began with a letter to King George from the Continental Congress, which had voted to declare independence from Great Britain?
  • John Hancock was the only one to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776? Everyone else signed later.
  • the first public Independence Day holiday was celebrated at the White House in 1804?

God bless America!

— Shelley Grieshop

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