Happy 4th of July 2020!

“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.” –Declaration of Independence.

Have a Happy 4th of July, 2020
By: D. Keith Dunnagan, Esq.
July 4, 2020

Two-hundred and forty-four years ago, in 1776, 56 imperfect patriots gathered at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to formally declare the American Colonies’ independence from Great Britain. Little more than a year earlier, the troops of Great Britain had marched on Lexington and Concord, where the first shot was fired in what would become known as the American War for Independence or the American Revolutionary War. These patriots, their families, their neighbors, and citizens of the colonies, sacrificing and risking their own self-preservation, would take the step of creating a new country in the New World. This American Experiment, predicated on self-governance, peaceful transitions and leadership selected by the people, was a new way of thinking.

Thirteen years later, many of these same patriots would again meet to establish a new form of constitutional government. One that is rooted in the principles that “the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” –Preamble to the Constitution of the United State of America.

The foundational documents conceived from the Second Continental Congress’ Declaration of Independence provided the framework to build a better nation. It was not perfect in 1776 and it is not perfect in 2020, but the hallmark of the American spirit is perseverance to achieve a more perfect Union. As a nation, we are constantly changing and evolving to become a better society.

Eighty-seven years after the Declaration of Independence, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the Union would win a key battle marking a major turning point in the American Civil War. This battle took place in early July and propelled the Union towards victory. Not long after, President Lincoln would stand on that battlefield and remind all Americans, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” –Gettysburg Address

Our country has progressed, but over the centuries, we have faced hurdles, turmoil, and difficult times. We have seen wars and terrorism. We have fought for equality and justice. But through it all, we persevered and improved our imperfect Union. Maybe not as fast as we might have hoped, but we continue to press forward. We press forward because that is what our forefathers did. Regardless of the difficulty faced – we as Americans pushed through.

This year has been a difficult year, and more challenges will likely come before we close out 2020. While difficult circumstances come and go, President Lincoln recognized that divisiveness is the greatest problem we would ever face. In 1838, Lincoln reminded us that no foreign force would ever be cause of the American demise. Lincoln stated: “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” –Lincoln’s Lyceum Address (1838). Divisiveness is the root of all transgressions in this nation. Our founding fathers and great leaders throughout our history understood that a unified America is a stronger America. Individuals standing together to preserve their country and to make a better life for themselves, their fellow-American, and their children, would always prevail over external threats and circumstances.

The strength of this nation is its people – and we are strongest when we are a unified people. As we celebrate this Independence Day, we should reflect on the improvements and progress made in that last 244 years, but we should not settle for what we have. As President G.W. Bush stated on September 11, 2001, one of the darkest days in modern American history, “none of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.” Let us commit to move forward together. We owe it to ourselves and to our posterity to leave this nation in a better condition than we found it.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July Weekend!

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