WISCONSINREPORT.COM (07/03/08) - Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Congress approved the wording of the Declaration on July 4th in that year. It became Independence Day in 1791, and wasn't a federal holiday until 1870 when congress made it an unpaid federal holiday. It became a paid federal holiday in 1941.
It's been said that the 4th of July may be the only holiday in the world that celebrates an idea. That is a distinguishment that the founders of this country would probably agree on and be pleased to hear. They put together a Declaration of Independence that was an idea which sparked the enthusiasm that led to actual independence from British Rule.
"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." Those words in the beginning of the Declaration of Independence could not have been more artfully crafted.
The act of crafting all of the words in the Declaration of Indendence led "We the People" to believe that Freedom was an idea that was possible to achieve. And achieve it our ancestors did. Now, it's up to us to continue achieving what the Declaration of Independence promised so long ago. An idea that must continue if this country is to survive as we know it.
Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, picnics, baseball games, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States, but, unfortunately, some often view the holiday as simply a summer festival, apart from its patriotic overtones.
The day is not just another holiday. Indpendence Day is much more than a day off from work, school, or other chores and activities. It's not just a time to be free from those kinds of things. It's also, a time to remember the sacrifices that those wise people so long ago made to make it possible for us to have this day to celebrate. To celebrate not only what our own Freedom Fighters did back then, but, also, what Independence has meant over the years and what it continues to mean today in our everyday lives, and into the future.
Having the Freedom to have fun is only one of the Freedoms we United States citizens enjoy. Others, include the right to experience the religion that we each decide we feel comfortable with. It also means that we can not include religion in our life, if we prefer to do that, as well. Of course, it means so much more, to each of us, because our way of life that started way back then, allows us each to choose which Life we want to live, which Liberty is important to each of us, and how to go about achieving the Happiness we desire to Pursue.
We must, everyone of us, young, old, Democrat, Republican, Independent, or struggling other political party member, businessperson, man, woman, girl, boy, teacher, consumer, clergy, music maker, farmer, and everyone else, protect the Freedoms we have today.
Imagine: If those men of long ago had not crafted the Declaration of Independence that eventually brought us to where we are today, would we have the Freedoms we have?
Let's all of us live up to our responsibilities to keep the Freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. What a country! Let's keep it that way.
GARY MORGAN is editor and contributing writer for WisconsinReport.com. Prior to becoming involved in the internet, he covered news and sports for newspapers and radio stations in Wisconsin for 30 years. He counts being half of a successful radio news and information show in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, called the Michaels and Morgan Show, as one of the joys of his career. His news reports have been heard on several Wisconsin stations over the years through the Wisconsin News Actuality Network.