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Courage for Freedom and the 4th of July

Growing up, like many others when I was in kindergarten or first grade, I learned about the signing of the Declaration of Independence and why we celebrate July 4th. And then like so many other youths, I did the July 4th cookouts, pool parties, sparklers and fireworks celebrations, not really thinking too much more about the meaning of this holiday. In high school history class, I’m sure the 4th of July was a topic we were taught again. But being a teenage boy with a one-track mind on girls and hanging out with friends, I’m sure these lessons were shallowly absorbed.

Fast forward about 20 years later. My wife and I chose to homeschool our three daughters since my oldest started 5th grade and my youngest began first grade. We quickly discovered in the attempt to teach our children, there were huge chunks of information that we needed to review and re-learn ourselves.

In this process, I recall re-learning what the 4th of July was all about. Being older and somewhat more mentally mature, I could understand this part of history in a different way and truly appreciate the significance of this event.

We now celebrate the 4th of July as the date in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson was officially adopted by the 13 colonies two days after the Continental Congress voted to declare their independence from Great Britain.

All that still sounds a little academic. So here it is in plain English…

Spreading its influence and dominance throughout the world, Great Britain, one of the most powerful nations at the time, colonized North America. Despite significant problems and adversities, these colonies found a way to grow and thrive. As these colonies grew, the inhabitants became increasingly unsatisfied by what had become, the oppressive rule of the king of Great Britain. The rule of Great Britain over these colonies became unjust and corrupt in many forms. Great Britain prevented these colonies from growing, taxed them unfairly, unjustly inhibited their freedoms, altered and manipulated laws to the detriment of the colonies, and intentionally stripped away any recourse of action to address these unjust impositions placed upon them.

The colonists organized and voted. The outcome was to declare their independence from Great Britain. A document was drafted declaring their independence and collectively saying, “We are done with you. You are oppressive and unfair, and we will no longer allow ourselves to be subjected to your corrupt ways!” (I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially that was it in a much more eloquent way).

This declaration of Independence stated, “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.” The document then continued to list over 25 different ways the colonists have suffered and been oppressed by Great Britain.

One of the facts I find most impressive about this declaration is that 56 delegates from the Continental Congress put their names on this document. Essentially, the signers of this document said, “Either we will make this happen or we will die trying. Here is my name. Come get me if you can!” This is a clear “do or die” declaration.

The courage!

One of the other things I find so impressive about this document is the last line which states, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” These colonists united together to face a powerful opponent and pledged to support each other with their lives, fortunes, and honor to make their independence a reality. Not only did they say, “Come get me.” They said, “We stand as one against you. You’re going to have to go through all of us!”

In very plain terms... that was totally badass.

It was this courage to defy an oppressive rule that fueled the creation of the Declaration of Independence.

It was this bravery to take a stand against an unjust system that gave birth to our country.

This is why we celebrate the 4th of July.

Perhaps it is important to note that the colonies did not get their independence on July 4th of 1776. Freedom from Britain was not fully recognized until September 3, 1783. July 4th, 1776 is the day the founders courageously declared we would be free from British rule and by doing so tossed a keg of explosives on the small beginning flames of the Revolutionary War.

In this way, the 4th of July is more accurately a celebration of courage.

Without this courage, the United States of America would not exist, and we would not celebrate the 4th of July.

Almost all meaningful change starts with an act of courage. Something I frequently say in my clinic is that to get different, one must do different. Doing different requires change and change can be scary. It is easy to do the same thing over and over, and of course, you will get the same outcome over and over. It can be challenging to take a stand for what you know you need. It takes boldness to take a stand for what is right. Bravery is required to do something different than what have been accustomed to.

It takes courage to declare what you desire.

Happy 4th of July everyone.

Article by Quinn Akira Takei, Doctor of Oriental Medicine(NM), Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Holistic Health & Wellness Coach.
The Center: Natural Health Specialists, 8404 Six Forks Road, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27615. (919) 848-0200.

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Debbie T Casper
Debbie T Casper
03. Nov. 2023

Thank you! Now I need to reread the history of that time and The Declaration of Independence!

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