Celebrating Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to everyone. No, I haven’t lost my mind. July 2, 1776, is the date independence was approved by the Continental Congress. We get it mixed up with the day the Declaration of Independence was agreed upon. So the real birthday of the United States is July 2; July 4 just provided the proper wording to tell the world what had occurred.

On July 1, word was sent to Delaware delegate Caesar Rodney to get back to Philadelphia at once because the next day would be the vote on independence. Rodney had returned to Delaware to handle some business, but his vote was essential for Delaware to go on record as in favor of the move, since the other delegates were divided. Rodney immediately set out for Philadelphia and had to ride all night through a drenching thunderstorm. He arrived on July 2 just in time to cast his vote—and Delaware’s—for an independent American nation. By itself, that’s a story of dedication to one’s beliefs, but it’s not the whole story. At the time, Rodney was suffering from cancer on his face that was so advanced he covered his face so others wouldn’t have to see the ravages of the disease. He was sick much of the time, yet in spite of the physical hardship, he endured that overnight ride.

That’s what freedom meant to him. His ride is commemorated on the back of the quarter that honors the state of Delaware.

What does our freedom mean to us today? What are we willing to sacrifice that we remain free? The colonists of 1776 made a conscious decision to stand up to a government that threatened their freedom. Our current government is trending in that direction. Unlike those early Americans, we have a say in who will be running our government. Our opportunity arrives again in November.

Meanwhile, celebrate America’s independence on this day, and if you wish to do so again on the Fourth, I have no problem with that. Make this an extended celebration.