Birthdays are a time to celebrate, reflect, be with those close to us and look toward another year of growth.
Saturday was a chance to do just that for the birth of the United States of America, and boy was it time for a birthday.
We hope this Fourth of July gave everyone across the nation a chance to celebrate the events of 1776, reflect on what it took and the sacrifices made to enable us all to be called Americans, and look toward continuing to help the country go down a path that has made it not only a prosperous nation but one of opportunity and freedoms.
The events of the past couple of weeks have caused much discussion and even more emotions for a country we believe is at a crossroads. A horrific shooting in Charleston, South Carolina shook the nation’s racial fault line, while a widow spoke not of race but of forgiveness and faith, making us remember the words that helped start this country: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
Those rights are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The nine victims of Charleston were going about their life, in which they had the liberty to believe and practice the religion of their choosing. But the happiness was erased from their loved ones’ lives. A person with evil in his heart walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and took away those unalienable rights.
We must honor the nine people who were killed by never giving up the need and will to retain our rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness for each and every American.
Days later, rights that were already allowed to much of the nation’s population were given to others in a Supreme Court ruling. It was a movement of love and equality, but also a vote that should make us think on the implications of federal laws out ruling state laws.
Much was made of the nation’s social evolution after the ruling on same-sex marriage, but there is more at stake for this country. Will other state laws be superseded? Will those religious freedoms be dulled? Will gun control laws, rulings on marijuana and other issues become decreed by the federal government?
We do believe that love will always win. However, once again, we feel the focus should be on America. As a nation we are a melting pot, but we are all Americans. And the largest assimilating factor is that we are all entitled to the rights that our founding fathers put in front of us back in 1776.
We hope this Fourth of July reminded everyone of that. For it is a patriot, John Dickinson who said “by uniting we stand, by dividing we fall,” and an Apostle, Matthew who said “Every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”