Lately I have been thinking what the 4th signifies for me and what it means to me, personally, to be an American.
Whenever I think of the 4th, it means to mean of a lot of my forefathers who fought and/or lost life or property to start a new nation where the government would not rule what religion was to be practiced (or none at all for that matter, what taxes were to be leveled in order that all would equally pay for services received and more personal liberties. Serving the country was considered a privelge, an honor, and treated with respect by those who did serve. Sadly things are not the same nor even close to those ideals today.
What it means to me to be an American is, I feel very fortunate to have been born here to a father who was first generation American and a mother whose family were in this country in the 1600's. That is almost unheard of in other countries that have established royalty or classes. I was able to achieve as much education as I could study to achieve. We can all travel from one state to another without encountering check points, passports, show identification, etc. There are some other countries who have a lot of the same freedoms that we do here. There are even some who a lot better laws than we. EX - in my opinion is Australia's voting requirement. That said, faults and all, I feel our country does the very best under the laws that were written back in the 1770's and expressed on July 4, 1776 for all to see. We have always strived to fight for our freedoms when needed, but always trying to find peaceful solutions first. I take a lot of pride in that. Although my father and brother never served - my father had an important civilian job, and my brother was never drafted before or after having his children - I have many ancestors who did. My mother had three brothers who served in the Navy during WWII, her father was in the Spanish American War, There were many who served in the OH, PA, and RI brigades in the Civil War. There were some in the War of 1812, and of course the Revolutionary War. I am so proud of that and those who served. Since working on genealogy from 1971 on today, I have learned so much about a lot of these brave and unpretentious ancestors. Some of the stories that could be told!
In no way am I suggesting anything other than my personal feelings. I'm sure most citizens think their own country is the best, too. I know my country has made some mistakes, but for being so young, it has done very well in trying to uphold the principles that were written for us and that we celebrate tomorrow. As my fellow Americans celebrate the day in their own way, I hope they will take a few minutes to reflect just what the day represents. I also hope they will take some time to let their children and grands know and help them to understand what it all means. We are so fortunate to be able to disagree and have the right to express our feelings that a lot of citizens of our world have never enjoyed. It's fun to have the BBQ's and picnics and fireworks as it is a day of celebration. However too few people know, understand, or even care just what we are celebrating!
Peace, love, and blessing to all.