The world would be a darker place without the Founders' courageous act
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation,” The Declaration of Independence states.
“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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
Those were the words sent to King George III on July 4, 1776, 240 years ago, by a minority in the American Colonies that took the incredible risk of rejecting the world's largest empire. They vowed to pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in pursuit of independence, freedom and a better life with a new country. As a result, they not only made a better life for themselves but gave the world hope and light for the future.
I'm a Daughter of the American Revolution and, thanks to my mother's side of the family, can trace my heritage to the founding of the country. James Forbush of Acton, Mass., was a drummer in the American Revolution. He was 18 on Independence Day, served in Capt. Simon Hunt's company under Col. Eleazer Brook's regiment and his wife gave birth to twins in the summer 1777. He died at 68 after witnessing the birth of a free nation.
In the early 1900s my great grandmother, Babe, one of five children, was sent over the ocean and through Ellis Island from Croatia to become an American. After living in a small mining town in North Dakota, she met her husband and moved to another mining town in Arizona.
Decades later, my grandfather, John Pavlich, fought as a U.S. Army Bushmaster in World War II. While he deployed against the Japanese in the Philippines, he contracted malaria and was shipped to a hospital in Sydney for treatment. It was in that hospital where my grandfather met my grandmother, Merle. They were married. And before his deployment back to the islands was finished, she caught a boat, leaving everything she had and beautiful Bondi Beach behind, and headed to America. She waited there for him to return from the war. Soon after, they became parents to three sons and years later, my mother and father met as many couples do through college. The rest for me is history.
Independence Day always was celebrated in our household with a trip to a downtown parade in Flagstaff, Ariz. According to a Harvard study published in 2011, embracing patriotic music and clothing, flag waving, barbecues and fireworks made us right wing. We always thought it simply made us Americans.
“The results indicate that Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation's political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” the study states. “The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century.”
America has enormous challenges and problems. But, amazingly, and regardless of the obstacles we face, American exceptionalism is alive and well, making the United States the reigning champion of the greatest nation on Earth. Where we would be without America today? I certainly wouldn't be here and neither would millions who have the pursuit of the American Dream in their family history. The world would be a darker place. As Ronald Reagan famously said, freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
Unlike any other country, America was founded on an idea centered around life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and allowing individuals to be responsible for their future, not one decided for them. Nowhere in the world can any person be more free.
Happy Independence Day and Godspeed to those protecting her so we may celebrate many more.