For 233 years, Independence Day has been the celebration of the day we declared our independence from the tyrannical reign of King George III. Since Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence it has been a symbol of freedom known worldwide. Thomas Jefferson noted, in a letter to John Adams in 1821 that:
[T]he flames kindled on the 4 of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them.
July 4th is a day to celebrate our freedom, specifically the freedom to govern ourselves. Even in the midst of sharp political divide, Americans have always known that July 4th is the day we celebrate our freedoms that the Founders fought and died for. But are these sacrifices appreciated in the same way they once were? This week, USA Today printed an item asking people to send messages to other Americans on what we need to remember this year:
Americans celebrate the values that unite us on the Fourth of July, but today the country seems sharply divided. As the country copes with unemployment, immigration and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, what do you think the nation needs to remember this Independence Day? What are the messages you would like to share with other Americans? Write to email@example.com by June 21. Please include a name, address, and day and evening phone numbers for verification.
Americans should remember the extreme sacrifices the Founders made so we could be free. We also cannot forget the extreme danger that was involved by just signing the document. That seems to be taken for granted nowadays, but it was an act of true bravery. One of the bravest, Ben Franklin, commented after he signed it:
We must hang together, or assuredly, we will hang separately
What else should Americans remember on Independence Day? Are the first principles that founded our nation being adequately considered in Washington today? The Heritage Foundation has some ideas. Tell us below, and send your thoughts to USA Today (firstname.lastname@example.org).