Editorial: Celebrating liberty

“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.”
– U.S. Declaration of Independence

The Fourth of July is a beloved summer holiday. It is a time of parades, fireworks, hot dogs and family fun, but it is important we keep in mind it is about so much more. It is important we never forget our own responsibility when it comes to independence.

We must remember that 237 years ago, our forefathers wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence that not only spelled out their reasons for separation from the king in England, but expressed the natural rights of all persons.
Our independence day is not simply about one group’s aspiration to govern itself. It is about independence of the individual and government’s place in our lives.

Our government is far from perfect, but at its core is this protection and preservation of individual liberties and rights. Sure, our political parties overstep these bounds at times as they legislate, but more often than not we see corrections in both directions that keep us on the right path.

Think for a moment if our declaration had not started with a focus on individual rights. Imagine if our forefathers had not seen the importance of holding these rights above all else.

It would have been easy for the new government to overstep its bounds as the previous one did. It would have been easy for our Constitution to not include a Bill of Rights which took this premise of equality and individual liberty and more clearly defined it.

As a nation, we must not only rely on our government to protect our rights and the rights of others, but we must vigilantly demand they be protected. More importantly than demanding our own liberties be preserved, we should demand it for those around us.

It is easy to seek our own independence and liberties, but what makes us special is our ability to do so for all. All are created equal and all are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what independence in the United States is all about.