Happy Birthday America!
Today people of all faiths and persuasions simply sit back, relax, and enjoy one another.
Family reunions, picnics, and the darkness of night which brings forth the magnificent fireworks display culminate a fun-filled day.
What are your childhood memories of this day? I waited eagerly for the moment we could join with the adults and see the fireworks. We could handle the sparklers, but dad was the only one who could ignite the monstrous ones. Of course, we did not know the names like Mystic Rain, Electric Rainbow, Havana Heat, Chain Reaction, Bad Attitude, Space Banger, etc. We only knew Ah, Oh, and Wow! Interestingly, as an adult, I still use these expressions when looking toward the sky and observing the explosion of spectacular color.
As I grew in age and wisdom, the historical aspect of this day became the focus of my attention. I grew to appreciate and understand the meaning of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I recognized the sacrifices that were made to preserve freedom and equality; yet, I also observed injustice and inequality. Today I am saddened by the lack of civility we render toward one another when these differences are addressed. I remember the efforts of two of our foremost forefathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. With many others, they joined together to formulate the Declaration of Independence, the cherished document that is the source of this Birthday Party every 4th of July. These two citizens, with vastly different visions, forged a foundation for the birth of a new nation. They each used their wisdom and gifts, and although differences existed, they remained faithful to serving the young nation.
There is so much about this day that is historically memorable. Most noteworthy, however, is that on this day in 1826, the 50th Anniversary of the signing of this Declaration, the former Presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, once fellow patriots and then adversaries, died on the same day within five hours of each other. In their golden years, they renewed a friendship that had been severed because of earlier political differences.
We all long for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Let us each renew our purpose and dedication toward achieving these unalienable Rights and recognize that all of humanity is entitled to the same.
Naomi Rosenberger, OSB