Celebrating independence

I just need to get over it, that’s all.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt frustrated by the way so many of my fellow Americans refer to this special day on our calendar.; July 4. It’s a national holiday, a position of importance it deserves, in my view. On this day in 1776, representatives of the original colonies signed their names to Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and created a new nation, independent from British rule. We call it the United States of America.

Free and independent. That’s important.

So, every year, we throw big celebrations on this day, make a fuss about it, honoring our nation’s birthday in all sorts of ways, invariably including a fireworks display.

“Happy Fourth of July!” we exclaim to our neighbors. “How are you going to celebrate the Fourth?” we ask our friends. Everyone understands which fourth we’re referring to. Car and furniture dealers crow about their big sales on the Fourth.

Why don’t we greet our friends later in the year with “Merry December 25th?” Or “Happy third Thursday in November!” Or even Happy January First!” Unimaginable. We who celebrate Christmas refer to the special day — actually a longer period — as Christmas. We celebrate Thanksgiving and appropriately call it that. Same with New Year’s Day.

Why in July, do we discard the reason for the special holiday — independence? Today, I celebrate the creation of our nation as a free and independent republic, not a number.

I’ll continue to call it what it truly is — Independence Day.  If you’d rather celebrate a number, enjoy yourself. You’re missing the point, but I’m tired of fussing about it.

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