Saturday, July 01, 2006

Independence Day, 2006

"The flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them." --Thomas Jefferson

This site, created and hosted by the Independence Hall Association of Philadelphia, provides a wealth of historical information about the Declaration of Independence, including brief biographies of each of the signers, all of whom risked life and property as they took a stand for freedom.

Last year, I posted The American's Creed for Independence Day. For me, the words sum up the essence of what it means to be an American:

"I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."

America may not be perfect, and I do a fair amount of griping about the state of our nation. But I cannot imagine wanting to live anywhere else, nor can I imagine what life would be like without the freedoms we Americans have. We should not take our nation or our freedoms for granted!

On this Fourth of July, I again celebrate the ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence and in The American's Creed. Those fireworks I'll be watching on the evening of July 4 represent something so much more important than a party-weekend. And since 9/11, I've come to value on a more personal level the meaning of Independence Day and the sacrifices of the patriots who came before me.

Since 9/11, I cry when I see those showers of sparkles as the fireworks bloom overhead. America has had to fight for her freedom time and again. And how close we came to possibly losing the backdrop of the Capitol Building for the annual celebration here, A Capitol Fourth! Perhaps that backdrop doesn't have the same significance for the rest of America, but for us locals, those exploding fireworks, with our monuments in the background, represent more than an awesome image.

Please take time out of your busy celebration of this year's Independence Day to turn on your speakers for John Wayne's America, Why I Love Her.



Have a safe Fourth of July, and don't forget the reason we celebrate!



(Illustration from A Capitol Fourth, as advertised by The Choral Arts Society of Washington)

49 Comments:

At 7/01/2006 6:58 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

My best wishes to all Americans!
Happy Independence day.
It's great to have you as our friends.
Democracy Frontline team salutes you America!

 
At 7/01/2006 8:15 PM, Blogger Old Soldier said...

Happy Independence Day and may God bless you.

 
At 7/01/2006 8:27 PM, Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Happy Independence Day and God bless America!

 
At 7/01/2006 10:19 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

"Since 9/11, I cry when I see those showers of sparkles as the fireworks bloom overhead."....I know jus how ya feel ..Happy Holidays!!

 
At 7/01/2006 11:08 PM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Glad to see folks are getting in the Independence Holiday spirit.

I miss all the festivities in Washington.

I hope you have a safe and very enjoyable 4th of July!

 
At 7/02/2006 3:44 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

We are the United States of America, a nation with one of if not the oldest continuing governments in the world. We turn 230 years old on July 4th.

We've not had a war with a neighboring nation on our borders north or south in 158 years. No civil war in 141 years. No appreciable level of ethnic violence in 120 years.

Perhaps it is time for the people of the world to look to America, again, as if for the first time, and remember just how pathetically shitty the inferior non-American country they live in is, and do something about it.

 
At 7/02/2006 5:41 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mr. Beamish,
Thank you for pointing out that figure of 230 years.

We are so blessed to live in this country. In your inimitable style, Perhaps it is time for the people of the world to look to America, again, as if for the first time, and remember just how pathetically shitty the inferior non-American country they live in is...

Beamish in '08!

 
At 7/02/2006 5:56 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mike,
If my bad back will allow for it, this year my husband and I plan to attend the fireworks display in Fairfax City--not as impressive as the National Mall, but a decent substitute. I own a house near enough to the Fairfax-City display to walk to a good vantage point.

We can't see the D.C. fireworks from our own house, but we can hear them and see the glow in the sky.

Missing Link,
Thank you for the salute. Does Oz have a similar national celebration? Pardon my ignorance.

WHT,
That first July Fourth after 9/11 was an edgy one here--lots of security on the ground and overhead. The security is still there, but not as visible.

Old Soldier & Wordsmith,
Yes, God bless America! That link I posted--America, Why I Love Her--concludes with those words. BTW, I'm old enough to remember when John Wayne recorded that tribute to the greatness of America. Some time back, my friend Mustang reminded me of that material from John Wayne, and I saved it specifically for the Fourth of July.

 
At 7/02/2006 6:24 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

I'm old enough to remember it also! John Wayne was an unashamed American patriot, now what do we have? I'll quit whining, our family has paid the price over the last 230 yrs. and I have no regret, but a lot of pride and appreciation for their sacrifices. No we aren't perfect, but we sure beat what else is available and it will do until "better" comes along!
Ya'll have a wonderful 4th and enjoy the birthday party!
Good morning and G*D bless!

tmw
P.S. AoW- Glad to hear that the rain has finally stopped! Hopefully all you got was a damp cellar!

 
At 7/02/2006 6:39 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TMW,
The cellar is a bit damp. I'll be turning on the fan again today to finish the drying-out. Thank the Lord that no real damage was done.

On the plus side, our drought is over!

Enjoy however you celebrate Independence Day.

 
At 7/02/2006 8:04 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

AoW- I've stockpiled fireworks, keeping them out of my son's hands until the 4th will be a task! LOL! He does love things that go BOOM! A big surf shop north of us puts out a barge off Cocoa Bch. and has a big show! If it doesn't rain we should have a noisy and bright one!

tmw
P.S. Egads, just love the damp, moldy smell.

 
At 7/02/2006 8:56 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

AOW,

As you know, I'm a hyper-exceptionalist. The world would be a much better place if the sub-American majority of the human race would place their more civilizationally developed betters, Americans, in charge.

Look at the horrors in France. Can you believe they actually force their own children to learn French? What a tragedy.

 
At 7/02/2006 10:45 AM, Blogger Romeocat said...

AOW, thank you for posting this, especially the link to John Wayne's wonderful, WONDERFUL speech.

Everyday - EVERYday - I thank God above the He has blessed me beyond belief by making me a natural citizen of this country. For all her faults, America strives to be the best - and we have a history of addressing and correcting those faults.

The liberties we enjoy, the freedom we cherish, were formed for us 230 years ago by some very wise and courageous men. I wish, somehow, that I was able to meet them one day, and attempt to express my gratitude for all they did for us.

One thing I *can* do, however, is thank every veteran, every member of our Armed Forces, who serve this country so bravely.

Words cannot express the debt we owe to these men and women who sacrifice and endure so much, and ask for so little. I hope and pray that God continues to guide and protect them, and will bring them home - victorious, safe, and SOON.

Happy Birthday, America! May you always be the shining city on the hill, which produces men and women of character to take up the standard of "Liberty and Justice for all!"

God bless the U.S.A!

-- Kat
www.CatHouseChat.com

 
At 7/02/2006 1:44 PM, Blogger Truth-Pain said...

Happy 4th of July. I hope we can remember that our Country's uniqueness should be celebrated 365 a year, and not just on this day.
Thanks for the many fine posting AOW. I come here often to refresh my noggin' :)

 
At 7/02/2006 3:23 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

AOW,
Does Oz have a similar national celebration?

26th of Januaruy - Australia Day

 
At 7/02/2006 7:16 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Truth-Pain,
I guess that I'm a teacher to the core! I also posted a version of this posting at my homework site.

You're so correct: our Country's uniqueness should be celebrated 365 a year.

TMW,
We used to have quite a fireworks party here at our house, but with all the recent building-up, our extravagant displays are no longer welcome in this neighborhood. Our last July 4th party was a doozie, complete with horseshoes and karaoke on the front yard. When I sang "Blessed Assurance," the local lush, well into her cups that late in the day, thought that we were having a revival meeting. My funniest rendition was that of "Rockin' Robin." I have a videotape of that last perfomance. LOL.

About my cellar...I'm allergic to mold, so I guess that I'll have to spray Clorox all over the place. Ugh!

Mr. Beamish,
I'm a hyper-exceptionalist. A specific type of patriot! :)

As to learning French, that is the one foreign language which gave me grief. In fact, French was the first foreign language to which I was introduced. It nearly soured me on studying other languages!

Missing Link,
I guess that you Aussies have a big celebration on that day. Complete with fireworks?

R'Cat,
I visited your posting. Very nice!

That John Wayne selection which I posted is one of my absolute favorites. The words and the pictures--I never get tired of them.

 
At 7/03/2006 2:12 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Australia and America have probably one of the strongest friendships between nations among all nations. Whenever America needs to go kick some ass, Australia is right there beside us and with us redefining the art of asskicking.

My brother tells of a stop in Australia where he and some fellow sailors from his ship were approached by a giant ox of an Aussie in a bar who came right up and said "Do you want to fight?" and then "Too bad" with a right cross when they declined wanting to fight. A table-smashing brawl occurred, which went on for a bit then broke up. Then the giant Aussie shook everyone's hands and bought them drinks for the rest of the night. He didn't want to drink with people unwilling to fight.

Australia is awesome like that.

 
At 7/03/2006 6:10 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mr. Beamish,
About your little bar-brawl story...Aussies just like to have a good time. LOL.

 
At 7/03/2006 9:37 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

HAHA! Good story, Beamish!

You are right on about the French... Why the hell do they put all of those extra letters on words if they don't intend to pronounce them?

Lovely post, AOW. We indeed need to celebrate the 4th every day!

 
At 7/03/2006 10:22 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Looks like we might not get the Shuttle launch as extra fireworks this year! Seriously bummed! They found a crack in the foam. We are still county, but we do occassionally get the party "poopers" who call the sheriff! we just wait till the deputy clears the area, then out come the mortars! we are actually suburbia, but we don't let that spoil our fun! We get contests around a several block area, so it gets to be lots of fun.(My daughter started playing the 1812 Overture, while I'm writting about fireworks!) Great minds think alike! I love my country and I love to celebrate her birthday, can hardly wait!

tmw
P.S. AoW- At least you shouldn't get a sinus infection from the chlorox mist!

 
At 7/03/2006 12:07 PM, Blogger City Troll said...

Great post AOW I love the creed I think I'll steal it...

Also to anyone in the Philly area the Constitution Center is a MUST see having lived here my whole life I must say it is one of the few things the city has done right in the last 50yrs

Happy Fourth of July Everyone

 
At 7/03/2006 3:43 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TMW,
we just wait till the deputy clears the area, then out come the mortars!

Ah, for the good old days when we could get away with the same here! In years past, the police stopped by early on the 4th, but they left us alone later in the day.

City Troll,
You're welcome to steal The American's Creed.

Constitution Center? I haven't been to Philly in years, so I don't think I've visited that site.

Brooke,
Mr. Beamish is a master storyteller. His Beamishims are collectors' items.

 
At 7/03/2006 5:16 PM, Blogger City Troll said...

AOW I just updated that post you may want to read it...

 
At 7/03/2006 5:56 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

I guess that you Aussies have a big celebration on that day. Complete with fireworks?
Yeah with fireworks display, but not at home.
It is on Queen's birthday when kids get into fireworks mood and the hospital emergencies get busy.

But hey, it is your BIG DAY - and so again; Have a Great one!!

 
At 7/03/2006 5:58 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

AOW,
Aussies just like to have a good time. LOL.

There is a saying:
"How was the wedding? Did you stay for the fight?"

 
At 7/03/2006 7:55 PM, Blogger cube said...

I'm so glad to see that others don't forget the meaning of Independence Day. It does my heart good.

Happy Fourth!

 
At 7/03/2006 10:51 PM, Blogger FLORIAN said...

MAY GOD ALWAYS BLESS AMERICA!
We are truly blessed among nations. Happy 4th to everybody!

 
At 7/04/2006 1:20 AM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Wonderful and I love the Creed. Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy those beautiful fireworks!

 
At 7/04/2006 8:27 AM, Anonymous Don said...

Is it an accident that Ducky neglected posting on this topic?

 
At 7/04/2006 8:33 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Don,
Duck tends to post only to articles with which he can post negative comments.

Duck is not much of a well-wisher, either. He avoided my Christmas and wedding-anniversary postings. But he may yet quack by here.

Or maybe he's on vacation. I haven't seen him around the blogosphere much the past few days.

 
At 7/04/2006 9:17 AM, Blogger nanc said...

i love my country! but, i have to wonder why God would bless a Godless society. may He have mercy on us all. we are blessed just knowing his goodness. hope that doesn't sound too sour.

 
At 7/04/2006 9:21 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

Perhaps, AOW, Duck has decided to become a conservative! I know... I've been accused of wishful thinking all of my life. :)

This is a wonderful post, AOW, and I love the John Wayne tribute.

Have a glorious Independence Day!

 
At 7/04/2006 11:03 AM, Blogger Mussolini said...

American citizens rolled over and gave up their freedom from tyranny long ago.

Sad, really, that so many Americans picked up guns over taxes and freedom just to die for nothing.

 
At 7/04/2006 1:36 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mussolini,
American citizens rolled over and gave up their freedom from tyranny long ago.

Still, we live in what most consider to be the freest nation on Earth. If not for the sacrifices of those who came before us, we wouldn't have the level of freedom which we now enjoy.

 
At 7/04/2006 2:52 PM, Blogger Skye said...

Happy 4th, AOW! Enjoy the day!

 
At 7/04/2006 3:03 PM, Blogger Dumb Ox said...

Remembering the difficulties and sacrifices through which liberty was gained, and the ease and selfishness by which liberty is so easily lost, used to be a part of our political culture.

Now all we are allowed to celebrate is "diversity"!

Where there's life, there's hope.

Happy Independence Day to you, AOW!

 
At 7/04/2006 4:06 PM, Anonymous Debbie said...

Have a great 4th of July. A wonderful post to remind people why we celebrate. Yes we all 'gripe', but that's part of being free. John Wayne, what a guy!

 
At 7/04/2006 4:28 PM, Blogger dag said...

You wrote earlier about "flaws" in our nation. I laugh. Who cares about our flaws? We'll get over then if it's important. The important thing is that if we want to fix them we can, and no one can stop us because we are free people who do what we will because it's right to do so.

Our nation is a nation of individuals living freely and by their personal responsibilities good or bad. If we were bad people we'd have made a bad nation; but no sensible person can claim we have made a bad nation. Bad people, some of us, and so what? It's their choice because they are free. What a great thing.

Freedom is hard and it's frightening and it's messy. Some can't begin to live with it, and they long for the protection of the state or the master. America is not for them. And some hate freedom because it threatens them by making them see themselves as weak and stupid. They hate themselves and they try to destroy us so they won't see themselves as less than us. They raise up their children to hate us and to destroy us. Some of our own do that. They should leave us, but they won't because they are afraid.

If there is in America even one victim of the nation, and if there is even one victim outside America of America, then it is the person's choice to live with it as he will.

The world? There is a prison in Pakistan, a nation that hauls in the whole family if dad goes in, and there the father must provide for the wife and children. In the night, if the father has no money, he rents out the boys and girls to paedophiles for the daily pita. Every night the air is filled with the screams of children.

There was a day when a boy squatting in the dust found a piece of clean blue ribbon. He'd never seen anything so beautiful, and he kept the ribbon from those who'd beat him and steal it from him.

Even in the midst of horror most cannot begin to imagine there is a will to live rightly. And some, no matter how good it is, they cannot get it right.

America, in spite of its flaws, allows for all to live the life they will. In America almost no one has to rise from such depths to be right.

I have trouble articulating how right we are. No nation is perfect, but the best nation is the one that allows people to be as they will. Some choose to be terrible. Some never get the chance to choose, and they never live, not right or wrong. We are born free, and we often don't get it because we mostly don't know what it's like to be enslaved. I can't show that to those who don't know.

If we don't know what we have we can try to think about what others have fought to give us, and then we might more deeply appreciate that we are blessed, and that we might have to fight to give something better to our children. Not perfection, but the right to decide how they will live as individuals. Some will wreck it. Some will rise above all the horrors and they will be our best. Such is America.

 
At 7/04/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger kevin said...

Here's to 230 more!

 
At 7/04/2006 5:55 PM, Blogger benning said...

I wonder if Jefferson could have envisioned a Nation, 230 years in the future, that was fighting the same tyrannies abroad, but also suffering their attempted return at home!

The Libs like to pretend they are 'progressive', but they are nothing of the kind. They are the worst of reactionaries: Stalinists in their innermost hearts.

GOD Bless America on her 230th Independence Day Anniversary!

 
At 7/04/2006 5:59 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Dag,
Great reality check! Thank you for leaving your thoughtful comment.

It is human nature not to appreciate our blessings until they are taken away. That generality applies both personally and nationally.

Helen Keller wrote an essay about what she would have done had she been given three days to see. Many of the things she enumerated the seeing world takes for granted and simply does not appreciate. Not appreciating our freedoms is a form of blindness, I think. As you said, We are born free, and we often don't get it because we mostly don't know what it's like to be enslaved.

 
At 7/04/2006 6:03 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I just got back from the open house at our local VFW. In attendance were veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. All of use decked out in red, white, and blue.

Good food, good company.

Now, Mother Nature is putting on her own fireworks display. Prbably these storms will move out in time for the fireworks on the National Mall.

 
At 7/04/2006 7:20 PM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

How appropriate to go to a VFW hall on the Fourth. You are a very thoughtful person.

Happy Independence Day to you and all your visitors

 
At 7/04/2006 7:33 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FN,
The VFW wasn't very crowded when we were there today. I guess that we arrived between shifts.

Typically, the local VFW has lots of visitors for July 4th and Memorial Day--two of the open houses scheduled each year. On Memorial Day, Rolling Thunder comes to D.C., with many Vietnam vets; many of them stop in for a cold one and eats after the rally is over.

 
At 7/04/2006 11:31 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

The Beakerkin Avatar was captured by the whimps of Jihad at thavagejustice. Alas we can create new avatars faster then the whimps of Jihad can turn out suicide bombers.

 
At 7/05/2006 6:01 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Beak,
And on the Fourth of July!

 
At 7/05/2006 6:52 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Well, we had a good 4th, the shuttle took off and was a beautiful sight! Watched go downrange for a long time! Set off our fireworks starting at dusk and enjoyed the display put on by the neighbors, nary a deputy in sight! Ate barbequed ribs, coleslaw and potato salad, ice cream for those who wanted it. All in all it was a very nice birthday celebration. An Orlando station showed fireworks at Lake Eola in high defination. Hope everyone else had a wonderful day!

tmw

 
At 7/05/2006 7:00 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TMW,
My husband and I watched the shuttle launch, live on TV. Quite a sight, heh?

After some fireworks here from Mother Nature, the weather here cleared, and we were able to enjoy one of the local displays from our usual vantage point.

We didn't barbecue at our house. Instead, we went the local VFW for an open-house with grilled burgers and hot dogs--and all the trimmings.

Due to the strong t'storms, many lost power for the evening, but we didn't.

Glad to hear that you had a good America's birthday celebration.

 
At 7/05/2006 7:45 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Sometime ya'll have to come down and watch in person, there is nothing like the rumbling roar that rattles the windows! Glad you had a good 4th, did rain overnight. We have a low off the coast which is bringing in moisture, G*D gave us beautiful weather yesterday, but the rain is needed to replenish the aquifer, all the paving over makes it more difficult to refill. Then the sinkholes start. Beachside we don't have that problem though! How's the back holding up? Hope therapy and swimming deals with the problem, messing with the spine is delicate work, I know they can perform miracles, but it is never really the same.
Take care!

tmw

 

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