“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.”
– Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
Written by Thomas Jefferson in the month of July, 1776, The Declaration of Independence declared that we were no longer under the tyranny of any foreign ruler and that we, and we alone, would determine our destiny moving forward. As a lad of 16 I had the privilege of visiting the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives where the Declaration, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights all reside. Even at a young age I was awed by the gravity of being in the presence of three of the most important documents in the history of humanity. An on this day, filled with BBQ’s, fireworks and friendship, I thought it apropos to mention how we should all pause and consider what type of lives we would be leading if not for the great men and women of this country who have come before us to forge our place in the annals of recorded history. To them my hat is off, and my eternal gratitude will forever flow from the blood in my veins.
With that, here are some of my thoughts on this most special of days.
(1) It’s not quite LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant, but in a sense it is as the top-2 men in their sport go heads up in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest as defending champ Joey Chestnut takes on Kobayashi. If you haven’t even witnessed the event, take an hour out of your day on Saturday to give it a viewing – it truly is an impressive site.. You can learn more about the event at the link to Nathan’s Famous. For those of you who have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, click on the link to Is Competitive Eating a Sport? where I reviewed the event last year (just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the piece from July 10, 2008). That should get your juices flowin’.
(2) The original estimate for people living in the United Stated in July of 1776 was 2.5 million. That number has swelled just a tad since then up to 304 million.
(3) Jason Bay, the slugging outfielder for the Red Sox was born in Trail, British Columbia in September 1978. Bay married a US Citizen, and then had two children who are obviously US Citizens themselves. So what did the Canadian born ballplayer do this past week? He became a US Citizen himself. “It’s a very big deal, but I didn’t realize what a big deal it was,” Bay said. “A lot of people have given me congratulations. It hasn’t really hit me yet.” Bay was clear to point out that he has nothing but positive things to say about Canada “but I’m definitely proud to be an American.” Aren’t we all my friend.
(4) Even though the Declaration was adopted on July 4th, 1776, did you know that it wasn’t a national holiday until 1941? What took the powers that be so long? You’d think they’d want to set up a grand party where people would come together in celebration.
(5) Even though we celebrate July 4th as the day of our independence, the truth is that the actual resolution for independence was taken on July 2nd. So why do we celebrate on the 4th? That was the day that the Declaration was read to the public which marked the occasion with a massive party.
So when you are stuffing your face with that hot dog or pulling back on that frosty beer in your hand, pause for a moment to given thanks to the men and women who gave us the freedom we have today. It’s the least we can do to say thanks.
By Ray Flowers
Tags: Jason Bay