The meaning of Independence Day

Published 10:23 pm Monday, July 3, 2017

If Americans know anything, it is how to celebrate a holiday. The Fourth of July is one of those days that needs no excuse to assemble family and friends for a cookout in the back yard, boating on the river or a picnic in the park.

However, it is always good to keep everything in perspective and observe common sense rules of safety and acceptable conduct.

We celebrate the fourth of July as the date in 1776 independence was declared from Great Britain.

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The 13 British North American colonies adopted the “The Declaration of Independence”  241 years ago on July 4.

The actual signing took several months before all had signed the document and one delegate as late as 1777. The struggle for independence lasted from 1775 till 1783 before the British were finally defeated.

The casualty count was 4,435 battle deaths and another 6,188 non-mortal woundings according to the Department of Veteran Affairs fact sheet. However, other sources show a total of 25,324 unspecified casualties including Indian Scouts, private militia and civilians.

The population of the colonies was estimated to be 2.5 million in 1776. The first census in 1790 recorded 3.9 million.

The high price of freedom is always reflected in the casualty counts.

It is always good to reflect back to the founding of our nation and review the Declaration of Independence and other relative documents on the fourth of July.

In scanning the names of the signers, ironically my name, James Smith, appears on it as a delegate from Pennsylvania. Immediately below my name is George Taylor.
Now George and I share more than the Declaration of Independence in common. We both at one time were employed by the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

George as a state trooper, and I was a charter member of the state trooper cadets in Investigation and Identification. Also, we are both members of the same organization in Selma.

Another thing I like to review and pledge my unwavering support of is “The American’s Creed” written by William Tyler Page.

“I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies.”

God Bless this great nation and those willing to defend it. Freedom isn’t free, but only a gift from one generation to the next,