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Freedom lives in all of us, forever

Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 6:59 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — Few holidays pack the hoopla of the Fourth of July. Many of the others are spent sequestered with family and friends in reflection of the reasons for the day. Not July 4, though. It is brash, bold and loud — and that’s the way our forefathers intended it to be.

Celebrating Independence Day means spending time with family as well as with others outdoors. Parades draw communities together, cookouts and red, white and blue decorations bring everyone under the familial umbrella of “American.”

The date is not what is most important. Early founders actually expected the United States to celebrate its independence on July 2 — that’s when the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution calling for the separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain.

As John Adams wrote: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations of the great anniversary festival. … It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”

The July 4 date is the date the founding fathers ratified and started signing the Declaration of Independence, although it was not adopted until Aug. 2.

What is important is the message those hand-drawn words imparted: A new nation was conceived, one that gave the rights to the people and treated all people with the same respect.

“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.”

In terms of governments, democracy is still in its infancy. There have been revisions necessary to adapt to an ever-changing world, but it remains one of the most respected and copied forms of government in the world. Even then, there are those who would seek to challenge or change our way of life.

That’s why it is just as important now as it was in 1776 to be loud and proud. Spend today laughing, shouting and painting the town red, white and blue.

Don’t let it end on July 5, though.

Freedom is not a self-sustaining idea. Freedom is a living, breathing flower in constant need of nurturing.

If we ignore its fragile beauty, it quickly can be plucked forever.

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This editorial first appeared in The Telegraph, Alton, Ill.

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©2013 The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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