Since I was a child, I have always loved watching fireworks and have attended a display every year with friends and family, until this year like many of us.  

With COVID, all local activities have been cancelled.  No big cookouts with family and friends.  Neighbors have been exposed to Corona Virus and small get togethers have been cancelled.  I’m secretly hoping that someone in our lake community will send off a few fireworks despite being against the “rules”.

While there’s nothing like watching live fireworks, televised fireworks are better than nothing to get back in the spirit of 4th of July during this strange time of isolation in our country.   Due to these strange, unprecedented times, I am more thoughtful as to why we celebrate the 4th of July in the first place.

The 4th of July celebrates the Declaration of Independence of America, thus creating it as a free country.  It symbolizes our freedom from oppression and tyranny, declaring independence from the most powerful nation at the time.

“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.”

-Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

The intent was to inspire colonists to envision a better life and gave them the right to fight for it, allowing them to prosper and pursue The American Dream.  This remains the foundation of our beliefs in governing our states as well as our lives.  The Declaration of Independence gave the people a voice.  A voice that we have today as we continue to relentlessly pursue equality for one and for all.

Our Founding Fathers laid the groundwork empowering us hundreds of years later to be able to choose better. Better overall lives, better education, better working conditions and better healthcare.  Today, we do not have to settle with what we are given or dealt.  We have the right to choose.

We have the right to choose happiness.

I, for one, am grateful to live in a country where I have choices.  Where I don’t have to lie in the bed I made.  I have the freedom to live my life as I choose within reason.  It means I could choose to end my marriage because I wanted and deserved better.  I have the right to pursue happiness.  We all do. 

The attack and decimation of our National Monuments upsets me.  Not because I idolize these individuals for their behaviors and practices but because I respect that they diligently fought for the creation of this country and the ground we stand on today.  It’s important to remember their actions and behaviors would not be tolerated today in any community in The United States of America.  We have The Declaration of Independence to thank for that.  We, as a nation, need to continue to evolve, respect one another and our country.  I know it’s not perfect.  But I know we continue to make progress.  And that we all have a voice.  

It is our responsibility to use our voices for the betterment of our own individual lives as well as our Nation.  We cannot change history; we can only learn from it.  

Happy Independence Day! I will be watching fireworks on TV and having a cookout for one, celebrating my freedoms and happiness.