Annual Press-Herald Publication is a Tribute to Our Nation, Our Heroes, Our Way of Life
What does it mean to you? Burgers on the grill? Coca-Cola? Summer heat? Fireworks?
Yes, all of those qualify.
But they aren't the real meaning.
This coming Monday, America will celebrate its Independence Day, a holiday commemorating the birth of a nation and the freedom that its citizens have the privilege to enjoy.
Remember that word – privilege.
For freedom is not a God-given right as it should be. Instead, Americans have been forced to fight and die against countless aggressors that have threatened from near and far.
The fight continues even as these words are being read today, a few short hours before the nation's birthday.
So during this special time of year, more that at any other, as Americans celebrate with friends and family, it is important to remember the hard work and sacrifice it took by the people who have come before – the people who made the United States of America what it is today.
Independence Day is the biggest day in United States history.
So let's look at some facts about the Fourth of July and how the steps of independence were taken.
n Independence Day commemorates the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, it was not declared a legal holiday until 1941, when the Weber grill was invented and ketchup and mustard was readily available.
n Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration, although his initial draft was amended after consultation with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams and altered both stylistically and substantively by Congress.
n Not all members of the Continental Congress supported a formal Declaration of Independence, but those who did were passionate.
One representative rode 80 miles by horseback to reach Philadelphia and break a tie in support of independence.
n The first two versions of the Liberty Bell were defective and had to be melted down and recast. The third version rang every Fourth of July from 1778 to 1835, when, according to tradition, it cracked as it was being tolled for the death of Chief Justice John Marshall.
n Father of the country and architect of independence George Washington held his first public office at the tender age of 17. He continued in public service until his death in 1799.
n In 1777, thirteen guns were fired, once at morning and again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks.
We have a rich history indeed.
That's why it is so important to remember those who still fight to protect this nation. The men and women engaged in a number of foreign lands. For they are America's true heroes and the ones who should be emulated.
While all must remember, it is more important to say thank you, because as any veteran will tell, freedom is not free. It has been paid for time and again with the blood of thousands upon thousands of innocent Americans over the course of history.
Traditions, heroes and current defenders all have a place in today's edition. As do a few opinions and historical remembrances.
We hope you enjoy our Home of the Brave section, but most of all we hope you give thanks. Thanks to those who have made – and still make – this country great.