Today is America’s Independence Day. July 4th marks the 232nd anniversary of the day this country declared its independence from Great Britain and adopted the document known as the Declaration of Independence.
Written over the course of a few days by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence states the reasons the colony chose to break away the King’s rule and describes the principles the new nation would strive to uphold.
Living by those ideals has proved to be much more difficult than writing them down, of course, and many times our nation has failed in its quest; but I believe that most of us here in the US still fervently wish to see Jefferson’s dream become reality: that this country should be a land of happiness, equality, safety and liberty for all.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
In New York, the holiday is traditionally celebrated with concerts, picnics and displays of fireworks. For the past three decades, Macy’s department store has paid for the city’s fireworks show, and every year it has grown bigger and more spectacular.
For 2008, six barges laden with more than 35,000 shells were anchored in the East River. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on both sides of the river to watch the show, and despite the rain, most stayed to the end, when the last streaks of yellow and red began to fade from the sky.