It is quite amazing that our country exists given the odds against our Founding Fathers and those brave common souls who put their lives on the line for the revolutionary idea "... 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."
As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July - our Independence Day - it is important to remember that those who signed the Declaration of Independence were committing treason against England which guaranteed them a death sentence had they been captured by the British.
The process began, as the delegates met in sweltering-hot Philadelphia, when on July 2 the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence, and two days later approved the declaration. It seems that John Adams, even though he was a couple of days off, understood at the time what this bold move by the upstart colonies would mean to future generations who would become known as Americans.
"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. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. 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, from this time forward forever more," a confident Adams wrote.
How prophetic were Adams' words! For the past 233 years, Independence Day has been celebrated with great enthusiasm by Americans both at home and abroad. It is considered as a day to celebrate our Christian roots and the freedom to practice religion without fear of persecution. Pomp and parades have become synonymous with the Fourth of July as have the illuminations caused by fireworks from coast to coast.
As Americans, we proudly display our colors and our pride because of the humble roots from which we came. Farmers and ranchers and merchants, the poor and the wealthy, rose up against tyranny and not only emerged victorious but helped create a republic whose freedoms have become the envy of the world. This Fourth of July, please also remember the so many who have died over the centuries to protect the dream of those colonists and those who fight for freedom today.
It is my hope that you are able to celebrate this Fourth of July in the spirit that John Adams so aptly described in the infancy of this great nation, and let us not forget that spirit as we deal with the many challenges facing our people and our nation in these sometimes difficult days.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office call be reached at 573-635-7232.