The Fourth of July. What does this holiday truly mean? Perhaps a long holiday weekend comes to mind. Firecrackers. Barbeques. Getting together with family and friends. Picnics. Parades.
Beyond the celebrations, we commemorate our country’s American Independence as a nation from Great Britain and Democracy was born. We long have learned in history classes that Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. That this date marks our country’s birth.
Yet, this July 4th is an especially pensive one. The decision of the UK to leave the European Union after 43 years gives pause for us to reflect upon the meaning of independence. With the horrific news of the recent Orlando shootings, the continual news of the global fight against extremists, and the ongoing tumultuous debate of immigration, we all pause to find a sense of meaning in a world that has gone senseless.
Thus, this July 4th we are faced with questions about the true meaning of independence. As a country, are we truly “independent” of other countries? Are we not affected by the ever-changing global landscape? In other words, is it naïve to consider that we are fully independent?
With technology such as Facebook, the internet highway, iPhones, Androids, Twitter, and the like we are all influenced by world events. So, does the meaning of “independence” now mean that we are, to an extent, intertwined to other countries? Is it inevitable that our current sense of “independence” has changed dramatically over time, as global events indirectly or directly impact our lives, our politics, and our leaders?
Regardless of what independence means to us personally and despite the tragedy of the recent shootings, there still remains hope for us as a country this Fourth of July.
The fact that we live in a country where we can speak our minds freely, make our own decisions, and have the ability to govern ourselves makes us who we are as a great nation; for it is our very liberty that we should celebrate and not take for granted… and further, serve as a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.