With all that’s going on in the world and in our nation, it’s hard to be in a celebratory mood. I won’t rehash all of the week's news here (we’ve been bombarded with it), but it can’t help but affect our mood. As I was slogging through the traffic on I-5 (with all of the other people who saw the WSDOT message to "Think Twice about Traveling" and still drove on) earlier today, I started thinking about the event behind this holiday. The signing of the Declaration of Independence. We tend to focus on the act of declaring independence from Great Britain as the act to celebrate. We lose sight of the story behind this act and of the fact that the story was part of a bigger story, the development of the United States. We forget that the bigger story isn’t over yet -- we're still striving to make a better and more perfect union.
The Declaration of Independence didn’t kick off war with Great Britain. Hostilities with the British had begun in 1775. The flowery and inspiring prose didn’t suddenly come into existence; it was the result of a year debates, political maneuvers and compromise. In declaring their independence from Great Britain, the Colonies pledged themselves to collective action. This wasn't an isolated action. Another committee at the Constitutional Congress began work on what would become the Articles of Confederation. The delegates didn’t always agree. It would take sixteen months of negotiation to agree on the Articles of Confederation. The Colonies would make shared sacrifices and fight for almost seven years after their declaration to secure a better life and future for their citizens. These were some of the early steps in the formation of our nation. As I reflect on this, I see a lesson in persistence and the harnessing of individual actions for the good of many. This lesson seems particularly apt today.
This weekend, we will celebrate Independence Day by breaking bread with friends and relatives, waving flags and (possibly) watching fireworks from afar. As you raise a glass of your favorite beverage, think about what we can accomplish with the commitment to act together for the good of all.
Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day,
Your friends at SingleFile