By Congressman Tom Cole
The Moore American
MOORE — America’s story is one brimming with patriotism and hope. Independence Day begs us to remember that we were not always free. The freedoms we enjoy today were paid for at a high price by thousands of brave patriots who came before to establish and preserve liberty. Because of their desire and commitment to build a better future for coming generations, our patriotism should ring even truer, resound even louder and beat even harder in our hearts. For we live in truly the greatest nation on earth.
Americans have long believed we live in a unique society, even before we declared our independence. This great experiment called freedom started back when we were simply a land of colonies, abused and ruled by a tyrant across the sea. It was through the ideas introduced in Thomas Paine’s pamphlet “Common Sense” in January 1776 that empowered individuals and gave cause to the argument about our right to establish and run our own government.
After a series of failed attempts to peaceably work through issues with the king, it was clear that declaring independence and cutting all ties with England was the only next step. The turning point came on July 4, 1776, through the Declaration of Independence. And so the United States of America was born.
The brainchild of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin and Robert Livingston, the Declaration was just the beginning of a long, dangerous road to building and establishing the America we live in today. Those founders bravely penned the words, “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Because they believed in America and their vision for our future was clear, they were ready and willing to put everything on the line and in so doing potentially lose all in the fight for freedom — including their lives. They knew the promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” must be secured and preserved for future generations.
Our freedom is not free. The days after our founders risked it all were anything but easy. The fight for freedom and liberty and upholding our independence was long, full of trials and war. As Paine famously wrote again during the Revolutionary War, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Countless men endured unbelievable hardship, and a miraculous victory was claimed. In times since that first war, thousands more have risked their lives to preserve freedom and liberty.
Our history is rich indeed. Fourth of July is just one day that recognizes the patriotism that should always ring loudly and proudly in our hearts. As John Adams once declared, this day would be celebrated by future generations as the “great anniversary festival” with “pomp and parade … games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other.”
This year as you spend time with family and friends, enjoy a cookout and watch a fireworks display to observe our nation’s birthday, do not let the day go by without remembering the true price of freedom. Independence Day is one for being truly thankful for those who desired freedom and bravely fought to attain it and for those who still fight to preserve it.