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Independence Day...

It’s been 236 years since we told Mother England to have her tea and crumpets without us and Congress approved the final official document that became our Declaration of Independence. That fact is an absolute. But is that the only thing true about our time-honored tradition of celebrating the “4th”? 
Historians tell us that the Declaration was actually voted on by Congress on July 2, 1776, prompting John Adams to pen a letter to his wife which read, “I am apt to believe that (July 2, 1776) will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.” Adams was correct about how we would follow in our forefather’s footsteps as far as the celebrating part; he was just off by a couple of days when it came to the actual date we would shoot our cannons and drink our double rations of rum. In fact, while the Declaration was edited and approved on the 4th of July, the scrawling of the signatures didn’t begin until August, wrapping up in late November with John Hancock’s famous John Hancock.
While all of the actual dates may have gotten a bit convoluted as the generations came and went, the ultimate reason we celebrate this holiday remains the same: Freedom. 
We Americans have always had an affinity for our freedom. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Petition, Freedom of Assembly; all of these are freedoms that have been fought for and died over with every Revolution and war we’ve participated in. From our original fight for emancipation from England right on up to today with our war on terrorism.
As we celebrate this 4th of July, for the 236th time, it would behoove us to remember the real reason behind the fireworks and barbecue, the red, white and blue tablecloths and napkins, and the parades of patriotism that abound in many small American towns: Freedom.
And in this election year, while we debate and argue over one political faction after another, let’s recall why we have the freedom to do this: The Declaration of Independence and our forefather’s belief in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
As cliché as some will say it is, the 4th of July is America’s way of reminding the world that we will not stand for oppression and bias, injustice and fascism, or the stifling of our freedom in any way. We have proven this time and again, and we will keep on proving it every time something or someone rears its head to question this.
Independence Day – the 4th of July –  it still stands for something today. After 236 years, it still waves across every corner of these United States of America: the stars and stripes, the Flag of Freedom. And while we may argue amongst ourselves over politicians and policies, beliefs and transgressions, we are, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. For 236 years and counting.
Happy 4th of July!