As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.”
Every 4th of July, we do not just celebrate the formation of the United States of America with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we also celebrate the philosophy underlying America’s culture, economy and political systems. When the United States of America freed itself of the shackles of allegiance to the British Crown, it was all about lofty ideals, courage and sacred honor. Which is why, 240 years later, we still find them relevant and draw inspiration from them.
America has assured its citizens of certain inalienable natural and legal rights. In fact, the second sentence is a well-known statement of human rights:
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.
This celebration of human liberty transcends what was offered by the Magna Carta, as it grants a citizens’ rights and liberties only with the permission of the royal sovereign, abolishing slavery and lifting the yoke of oppression. This second sentence of the Declaration became one of the most consequential sentences in American history when Abraham Lincoln made it the cornerstone of his Gettysburg Address in 1863.
Human rights are enshrined as universal principles rather than in political institutions by the Declaration of Independence, which protects them from being taken away at will or without any notice. The Declaration also grants the right to the governed to elect a government of its choice. Its philosophy and principles have inspired many other countries to hold it as a model and follow the shining path it has demonstrated.
If America is the land of dreams not only for its citizens but also for so many wanna-be immigrants to its shores, it’s this freedom and access to opportunities offered by the ideals underlying the aspirations that won us our independence. Take time to commemorate this universal liberty.
Amidst all the partying and patriotic displays, memorials and monuments as well as festivities and fireworks, let’s once more dedicate ourselves on this day to fighting for, protecting and handing our independence to the next generation!
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