Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

It’s that time of year again! American flags outline the city streets, children and adults are visibly eager with excitement, local grocery stores are sold out of your favorite cookout item, and your neighbors have taken interest in blowing stuff up. Yup, it’s almost Independence Day!

Before I go on to share a message I received from my agency’s Director, I want to clarify something that is – picky of me – but important. And since some of you will not read this full post, I am putting it in the front half verses the last half. Sneaky, right?! But it’s THAT important! Friends, it’s called Independence Day, not July Fourth. Every country has a July 4th. But only America has an Independence Day. It’s not just another calendar day in the beginning of just another summer month. It’s the day when we as a nation established our freedom. And to me, that’s worthy of being distinguished from a Julian date. Don’t you? Okay, onward to the middle of this message…

They say do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, I wouldn’t go as far as saying I love what I do, but I will say with certainty I love that what I do supports something bigger and greater than a profit margin. My “occupation” is laced with patriotism and I love it. Earlier this morning the Director of my agency sent a message to all employees, saying what Independence Day means to him. He shared a tasty tidbit of information that I found interesting, as I haven’t heard this part of the historical background of our day before. Here it is:

“In the summer of 1776, as America stood on liberty’s edge, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail:

“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 as the great anniversary festival … with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Adams’ memorable words are correct in spirit but historically inaccurate. The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted July 4, which is when Americans gather to celebrate “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Philadelphians held an impromptu celebration the following year while the Revolutionary War was in full swing. Sporadic celebrations continued as the commemorative event grew in popularity. More than 90 years later the festivities became official when Congress passed a law on June 28, 1870 making Independence Day a federal holiday.”

He goes on to say,

“This holiday is a favorite of mine as I am sure it is for many of you. Independence Day is about love and devotion for one’s country. It can be the great American olive branch. Too often these days, our lives are surrounded by divisiveness, but on Independence Day, our differences fade as patriotism shines.”

That last line…I won’t lie, it gave me chills (and not because it references shining). To me, that’s what it’s all about, guys and gals. Coming together as one. Standing up against the world as one. Uniting, despite our difference. Given the state of our great nation these last several months, uniting – even if for one day only – sounds pretty good to me.

Show some patriotism this weekend. Have fun! Be safe! And more so than ever, let freedom ring!


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