July 4th - "Sic Erat Scriptum..."

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Sic erat scriptum: "thus was it written"

A group of American colonist brought the heat to the British Empire in the summer of 1776...

It must have been damn hot in the days leading up to the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson had been tasked to write a document declaring the American colonies would no longer kowtow to British rule. In a 1328 word parchment-Tweet, King George III lost the fealty of America's millions. In fact, during the July 9th riots in New York City following the document signing, a statue of King George was torn down and later melted to make over 42,000 musket balls.

History shows the actual Declaration wasn't really signed until after the 4th of July, but why quibble? This day marks the first time in history where the phrases - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." - were EVER written. Think about this for a second, because to me, it's the very essence of why the 4th of July is celebrated. This amazing document put forth the very nature equality, and it's been the foundation of virtually every human rights movement since the day it was written.

The second part of the sentence I've divided, shows the simply wants of the men and women in the burgeoning American colonies: "...that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." On the Fourth of July, we light up fireworks, and have barbecues with family and friends. We gather to enjoy a time of commonality we rarely find during the other 364 days of the year. We do what we want on this day of days. Some will relax by a poolside, while others - like my neighbor - will decide this is a great day to mow his yard. What's remarkable about my neighbor, is this is the day he won't just mow his own yard. He moves to the yard of an elderly woman two houses down from him, and takes care of her lawn too. She'll come out when he's half done - or when the heat becomes oppressive - with a huge pitcher of ice tea. They'll stand next to his smoking old mower and chat. I don't know what they talk about, but whatever it is, it makes them laugh or smile. To my knowledge, it's the only day of the year they speak to one another. But to me, it's the first sparkler of the day...

This day - this July 4th - I hope you'll pause to ponder the past. I hope you'll think about the future too. But more importantly, I hope you'll hold this one simple truth close to your heart: Life, liberty and happiness is something we all deserve equally. We have men and women defending for us every day on fields spanning the globe. The rights and lives we have, have come at a great cost to every generation since this country came into being. I hope the happiness you feel to your very soul, includes the acknowledgement of the incredible strength and vision of a group on people centuries removed. There's a twinkle in the eye of everyone when they're happy. Never let it wain, and smile the first time you see it in your child's eyes. It's what makes America special now, and throughout our history.

Have the very best 4th of July, and please stay safe - DouglasM

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