Declaring Independence

                               … Meant Freedoms (Large & Small)
                                                            
By Jeff Salter

             I don’t care all that much for picnics or fireworks (though I have nothing in particular against them).  I worry, however, that new generations think of July Fourth as merely a holiday with outdoor food and lots of noise.
            But Independence Day is more … much, much more.  Among a stretch of several years of growing pains for the British colonies in North America, the Declaration was an extreme turning point.  No more ‘ownership’ by Britain, no more allegiance to the monarchy, no more obligation to follow British laws.  Considered as outlaws and “traitors to the Crown,” those who assembled in Philadelphia in 1776 put their very lives on the line to imagine a new country, an independent nation … a free people.
            This was no intellectual exercise … no thesis for political science majors.  This was passionate commitment to an idea and ideal: a democratic republic.  Local rule … representative government … individual rights.
            Yes, it’s a blight on our nation’s history that Europeans slowly and steadily encroached upon and evicted – involving considerable bloodshed – the numerous Native American tribes.  It’s tragic how callously those lands were expropriated and those cultures eradicated.  It’s also horrific how the new America – along with many other nations – used and abused slave labor to accomplish goals (whether noble or ignoble).  I cannot defend either of those means.
            But whatever other negative observation which can be leveled against America, I believe this nation of ours is better than any other on the planet. 

            Are Americans perfect?  No.  Do we make mistakes?  Yes … certainly.
            Have we veered from the ideals for which our Founding Fathers devoted their very lives?  Uh … yeah, we’ve strayed a LOT.
            Sure, our country has drugs, violence, prejudice, crime, and many dishonest ‘leaders’ (at all levels of government).  But we also have loving families, kindness, generosity, helpful neighbors, virtuous people, and beautiful harvests from God’s rich soil.  We have varied natural resources and wild beauty (flora and fauna) … which rival that of any spot on the planet.
             We have pro sports, the NCAA, and even NASCAR (for those who need it).
            America is the place of freedoms.  America is one of the very few countries that people in other nations want to come TO … if only they can get out of the place they’re currently in.
            There are people in our country I wouldn’t care to know … and areas where I would not want to live.  But, overall, I wouldn’t trade places with any citizen of any other nation … period.  If I had a one-way ticket to anywhere else on this earth, I’d have to cash it in.

 No papers
            There’s a brief dialog between Sam Neill and Sean Connery in the terrific 1990 film Hunt for Red October.  As they discuss what might happen after defecting to the U.S., Sam (Borodin) and Sean (Ramius) have this pertinent exchange: 

Borodin: I will live in Montana. * * * And I will have a pickup truck … maybe even a recreational vehicle. And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Ramius: I suppose.
Borodin: No papers?
Ramius: No papers, state to state.
Borodin: Well then, in winter I will live in … Arizona.

             Think about that.  To me that’s a vital key:  it’s one of the many ‘American’ aspects which makes this nation GREAT — we can come, we can go, we can quit this job, sell that house, move across the country.  Need anybody’s permission?  No.  Need PAPERS to cross the border from Kentucky to Tennessee?  Uh … nope.  As long as you’re driving your own vehicle, you can go anywhere you want (except Area 51) … as far as your gas money will carry you.  And if you later change your mind, you can return to where you came from … or travel to some other place!  That’s the freedom almost no other earthlings have access to … and I love it.
            To quote part of the famous and moving song:  “God bless America, land that I love … stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above.  From the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam … God bless America, my home sweet home!” 

Who signed that declaration?
            Last year at this time, I summarized an excellent article from The Federalist – which discusses the awesome sacrifices made by most who signed the Declaration of Independence about 236 years ago.  It’s extremely important for us to remember that many signers lost everything … and quite a few lost their families or their own lives.  Please have a look at that eye-opening article from last year. 

https://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/who-signed-that-declaration/

 Question:
            Which particular ‘freedom’ of America do YOU most appreciate?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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17 Responses to Declaring Independence

  1. The freedom I most appreciate would have to be freedom of religion, not just my own but those of other residents whose beliefs differ from mine. Some nice thoughts here. And of course any time you can incorporate some of Tom Clancy’s great ideas is a plus in my book.

    Like

  2. Thank you for your reminder of how blessed we are. I am thankful for all of our freedoms. Freedom is not free! It cost a lot to obtain and it will cost a lot to maintain. But, it is worth the cost. My prayer is that America will return to God, the Bible, and the principles upon which this great nation was founded. We are truly blessed to live here.

    Like

  3. Tonya Kappes says:

    Yep, we love the Fourth of July because it does bring my family together to celebrate the freedom of our country. We love the food, games, and sparklers that has become the biggest birthday party we have celebrated besides Christmas (Jesus’ birthday) AND I don’t have to buy anyone a present.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      True, Tonya, most people don’t buy any July 4th presents … but I know those fireworks stands do a booming business. Just in the limited areas where I drive, I’ve noticed at least 8-9 very large stands … and 3-4 smaller ones.
      BTW, when I was a kid, there was NOTHING like these huge tent sale places — at least not that I remember. Seems to me there was one or two places in town and they were comparatively MUCH smaller. Considerably less variety.

      Like

  4. Carol says:

    Shared on my FB page! Proud of you, American!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Carol. Did y’all have any fireworks last evening in Frederick? Or did the dry weather knock that out?
      Here — the big display will be Sat. evening (the 7th). I can’t wrap my mind around that delay.

      Like

  5. jbrayweber says:

    I think people of America take freedom for granted, to no fault of their own. We’ve enjoyed our freedom for more than 200 years, we’re born into it. It’s funny…just last night, while holding my toddler, who has suddenly become afraid of fireworks, inside the house by the window, I listened to the sound of fireworks, instead of watching them. The booms sounded more like cannons and gunfire from a distant battlefield. Of course, this led my mind to the sacrifices of the past 200 years to gain and maintain our freedom. God Bless America!

    Jenn!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      It seems like you had a remarkable experience, Jenn, ‘hearing’ those ‘cannons & gunfire’ instead of seeing the symmetrical beauty of the typical modern displays. Yes, those battlefield sacrifices were anything BUT pretty … and surely were horrifying to experience. I think God for the brave men & women who have fought to preserve our freedoms.

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  6. tonettejoyce says:

    There you go, Jeff…Hunt For Red October, one of my all-time favorites, if only for the cast. Let us pray that we will not be needing “papers”, although I fear the worst.
    Thank you for saying everything that I failed to in my ‘2-Cents’ that will be tomorrow’s ‘4F,1H,’ and for a fantastic lead-in,I hope I can follow you.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, for your kind words, Tonette.
      Yeah, Red October is one of my all time fav. movies. I never read that book or any of Clancy’s — yet. But someday I hope to.

      Like

  7. Meg Mims says:

    Yes, Americans ought to cherish their freedom far more than they do — it makes me so mad to hear people trash the country, but hey, Freedom of Speech is a right. I’d rather have the Bill of Rights than those papers they talk about in Red October!! 😀 Great post, Jeff!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Meg. Yes, the First Amendment is the FIRST … the one so much else is based on. Thank God we live in a country where we can say (& write) what’s on our minds and in our hearts … without fear of arrest or death.

      Like

  8. Laurie Ryan says:

    First off, let me get the Hunt For Red October out of my head. Alec who? I’m all about Sam Neill and Sean Connery. 🙂 Second, this was a great reminder of how much more freedom we have than some other countries. I’ve been in a, for lack of a better word, pissy mood about government lately. But ultimately, we ARE the people and I am grateful for the freedoms set up for us by our forefathers. So, while I may not like all I hear, I appreciate the freedom to say what we want to say, as long as it doesn’t cause harm to someone else.
    Hope your fourth was fun and safe, Jeff. We finally got summer here in the Pacific Northwest. And my husband can’t get me back in the house. I’m working out on deck as I am sun-starved. 🙂

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Laurie.
      One of my wife’s first cousins lives somewhere in your region. He’s been talking about temperatures some 30 degrees below ours (in KY) and I thought he was exaggerating.
      Alec Baldwin was so young in that movie. I think Harrison Ford was more believable as Jack Ryan than Alec B. was.

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  9. Pingback: Freedom and Independence | fourfoxesonehound

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