"When in the Course of human events"
Published: Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 7, 2005 at 6:56 p.m.
Welcome one, welcome all to Independence Day 2003. It's time again for the annual celebration of.not what everyone seems to think.
I remember this day mainly for the birth of my dear, sweet mother, who is now 53, and has been in this country for 44 years since arriving in New York City from the shores of Cuba.
I remember this day also for our Declaration of Independence.
The majority of our population has misconstrued this holiday to proclaim that it is, in fact, a celebration of hot dogs, mom's apple pie, and all things American. Please allow me to clear some things up.
The first observance of Independence Day occurred on year after the signing of the Declaration in Philadelphia. The Second Continental Congress adjourned early to celebrate with fireworks, large dinners and bells at the closing of the session. The grand fiesta cheered the day we claimed independence from King George.
I have always enjoyed taking time out in the days prior to this gathering to actually read the Declaration in order to remind myself what is going on. It is a long, dreary list of complaints. Yes, the day when it is most uncouth to speak badly about America is actually a celebration of bitching about the government.
Our forefathers, who didn't even finish signing the document until 1781, voiced dozens of complaints centered on the idea that they were unfairly governed without their consent. The British citizenship that these men held so dearly was torn from them the instant they arrived on the North American shores. After 191 years (Sir Walter Raleigh formed the first British colony in America in 1585), they were fed up with jolly ol' England.
Since the first day of that auspicious celebration, we, as Americans, have morphed the ideals of Independence Day from rejection of unjust tyranny to drinking Natural Light and blowing our hands off with fireworks. We have taken the first step of a long, arduous journey towards freedom and made it yet another excuse to have a day off and get drunk.
As I said, my own mother came to this land of opportunity 44 years ago. Her father was a member of Fulgencio Batista's army. When Fidel Castro arrived in 1959, they fled to America on a "2 day vacation" in order to save their own lives.
Since the day she arrived, she has taken herself away from a life of poverty and oppression in Cuba to become a full-time teacher in a very respectable school in Southern Florida. The education for her sons that cost her and her husband years of hard work has allowed both of them to win full scholarships to the best university in the state.
On a day when we celebrate the fight against tyranny, oppressive government and lives spent in involuntary servitude, I implore you to look to people such as this. Look to people that have risen above a government that tries to keep them down. Look to those who work against the injustices within the system. Look to those who say:
".when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Light your fireworks for them.
This article was originally published on July 4, 2003
Comments are currently unavailable on this article