MY POINT OF VIEW: Continental Congress unanimously adopted Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776

by Gary Kennedy

The usage of Independence Day would be, and is known to all as the 4th of July. When we speak of it in this way it becomes clear as to its real meaning as each of us know and understand it. I state this as we recently have had an influx of immigrations which most likely are unfamiliar with this date in time and to its meaning. When those new comers become fully acclimated to the life and history of this, their new home/country, its importance will become clear to them. It will become to them, as it is to us, who have grown up with the knowledge of this event, and how and why it occurred. For now, as we do every year, we will share a definition as to the meaning and its importance in our lives. Independence Day (4th of July) is revered by Americans as it is indicative of ultimate and unconditional freedom from tyranny and religious persecution; as well as prejudice and slavery.

Some say the growth of the most powerful nation on God’s green Earth, made not only immigration necessary but also slavery. All of that may be in fact true but we now admit, that didn’t make it right. Although most of this happened generations ago we still find need to say, “I’m sorry, but thank you for your sacrifice”. Unfortunately, we are still trying to get it right. We try to right the wrongs of the past but it seems the present creates new ones. However, being a democracy has the benefit of allowing us to make corrections and adjustments as we travel through time. Each generation seems to seek a better tomorrow and yet we see millions of immigrants reaching our shores in search of a better life. So that speaks volumes for the why of it all. America is the land of the free and home of the brave.

On July 4, 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, which announced the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. We officially became the United States of America. The significance of this date in time gave us George Washington, lovingly known as the father of this country and our first president. It was truly a time to celebrate as we were free from Great Britain and also the Revolutionary War was rolled into history. On August 2, 1776, 56 Lovers of Freedom signed the Declaration of Independence. This for the time being severed all political ties with Great Britain. I state political ties as it would not have been wise to sever economic ties with the most economic country in the world at the time. We crossed this path several times in history, China being the most recent. Some doors need to remain open, if at all possible, while slowly disenfranchising those that give unfair advantage to the overall situation.

In 1787 the United States Constitution was written, ratified in 1788 and in full operation in 1789. The U.S. Constitution is the world’s longest serving written charter of government. “We The People”, affirms that the government of the U.S.A. exists to serve its citizens.

The framing of the Constitution was completed at the Constitutional Convention which assembled at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, between May 25 and September 17, 1787.

The founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence as well as helped draft the Constitution. They also became the political leaders of the time. Obviously, they were brilliant men and collectively they forged an amazing document which has stood the test of time. This is the umbrella under which we live and guide our actions towards one another. It is without a doubt one of the most genius documents ever written and has stood the test of time.

I would be remiss in this narration if I didn’t explain our structure which consists of the three branches of government, the Legislative; the Executive and the Judicial. This is the structure that affirms the indisputable strength of our government.

These branches are given certain powers which complement each other and allow us to be known as a Democracy. They give each of us fair representation in our government. Briefly stated the Legislative branch makes the laws of the United States, controls all of the money and has the power to declare war. The Executive is the President of the United States who oversees and directs, guides and tempers our government. He/she enforces the laws of the United States, spends money as allowed by Congress, can declare states of emergency, appoints judges to the Supreme Court and can grant pardons for crimes. The Judicial branch is the Supreme Court which interprets laws, judges when a law is unconstitutional.

So that all is fair and in order we have a system called checks and balances. The president has the power to veto a bill; Congress has the power to impeach Supreme Court judges or even the president. The Supreme Court has the power to veto a law that they deem unconstitutional.

Over 100 countries around the world have used our constitution as a model of their own. Our supreme court continually interprets the constitution as the world evolves. However, its basic tenets have remained virtually unchanged. There is sometimes a quarrel over its interpretation but they never question its wisdom. The leaders and formers of our country created a pathway document the could and would stand the test of time, all time. They were brilliant, the documents were/are brilliant and I am sure they will remain that way through time. Our beloved George Washington said, “The Constitution is the guide, which I never will abandon.”

The records which create 4th of July are only second to the records of the Bible. I recommend everyone should go to their favorite book store and look up the documents mentioned here but most importantly research the founding fathers. There is wonderful reading regarding the lives of each. In doing so you will understand this country and what and who it took to create it.

Have a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy the food, fireworks and family. Be forever thankful for the wonders of this country and the why, of why so many seek to come here. Thank God for the freedoms we have and the reasons for them. Last but certainly not least thank the veterans who give so much in the preservation of democracy and freedom. Keep America strong. Happy 4th of July and God bless.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.


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