Independence Day – 236 years later

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident…’

Originally, I planned to sleep in and skip today’s post. I figured most people would be busy at parades, barbecues, picnics, or fireworks; which just about describes what we’ll be doing here. Maybe even a bit of weed pulling and there are a lot to pull, or cleaning, organizing, and getting ready for grandma and grandpa to arrive Thursday.

But, I awoke at 5.15 and decided to get up and start the day; so, I roused Ivy, who’d slept on the bed because she was spooked by the fireworks last night, and went downstairs. Moonbeams shimmered across the still lake through the front window. The moon was setting over the lake, the sun was rising in the east, and there was plenty of light. I tried to capture the image though, I can never quite get what my mind sees, I tried two cameras – mine, and Beth’s and you can see below what I caught.

Photos from left to right: Lake Margrethe – 7/4 5.36 AM, Wheaton, IL – 6*/21 9.21 PM, lake Margrethe 7/4 5.36 AM

Today is Independence Day and we’ll celebrate with parades, barbecues, picnics, fireworks, and having fun outdoors. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence 236 years ago, life was incredibly different but his ideas have stood the passage of time and the invention of new ways to communicate and share ideas. In 1776, communication was measured in weeks, sometimes months; today communication is instantaneous – when I hit publish, this post will be visible to millions of people.  In 1776, the words of the declaration were on available to a few, though word traveled by mouth, few could read and literacy was limited. Today, literacy is universal and I found the text available in multiple locations, but I copied it from the National Archives. Below is the text.

The Declaration of Independence
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. from National Archives of the United States of America @

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident…’ wow. Self-evident truths are obvious today, but they weren’t obvious at the time. Today, America is truly independent and a beacon of freedom around the world. The ideas of Jefferson first transformed America, and then the world, as his ideas traveled. In lands across the globe, people yearn for the freedoms we have and we take for granted – speech, religion, the right to bear arms, sharing of ideas, and selecting our own government.  “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” What Jefferson meant, was that authority was given by the people to the people to govern justly – with justice, fairness, and citizens had the responsibility to decide who would govern. Yet, today millions of Americans will celebrate Independence Day proudly and then, sadly, in November willingly cede their independence by abstaining from voting. The excuses for abstention are many, yet all are inexcusable.

November, in a way, is Independence Day, as it is the method by which we express our independence by selecting a government. Often, the argument for not voting is that ‘my vote won’t count.’ Indeed, every vote counts, just as every day counts. Yesterday, I exercised my independence by writing, reading, pulling weeds, swimming, and enjoying a multitude of freedoms. Today is going to be wonderful day with a parade, swimming, boating, and fireworks; and reluctantly ceding my independence doing what needs to be done for the greater good. Making the Days Count, celebrating America’s independence, one moment at a time.

                How will you celebrate Independence Day?    

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