Appreciating Our Freedoms

Independence Day ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance
by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. –
John Adams

july-4-2014Every year after the 4th of July, I’ve made it a tradition to write about the significance of what we call Independence Day and to consider the words written by John Adams, one of the founders of our country.

As Americans the 4th of July should be a day when we remember the Declaration of Independence and our country’s separation from Great Britain in 1776. In reality the 4th of July is a holiday that most of us celebrate with gatherings of family and friends, fireworks, cookouts, even parades and flags waving. But honestly, how many of us really think about the true meaning of this day? And just what do we mean when we say independence and freedom? 

This year I am particularly aware of how many people don’t have freedom and how much pain and suffering are present in our world. I hear the news with horror of children – sometimes unaccompanied without their parents – trying to cross the Texas-Mexico border from their homelands where their parents fear for their children’s lives. I think of thousands and thousands of people in refugee camps who are trying to flee the torture and killings in their countries. And I personally am feeling how un-free and un-independent I have felt over the last year as I stayed in hospitals, rehab centers, and in my own apartment fighting my illness.

Yes, we are all guilty of taking our freedom and independence for granted. Having said that, let’s consider John Adams’ very moving and poignant words that he wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776. I believe his words can help us put the celebration of Independence Day into perspective. (This is the exact text from his letter with original spellings.) “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-84)

Those words speak volumes to me. Perhaps as John Adams stated, we should always remember Independence Day as a “Day of Deliverance” and celebrate it with solemn acts of devotion to God. We have so much to be grateful for, so many freedoms, so many choices, so many blessings. Life can be truly abundant, if we choose to be open to it. May we celebrate and honor our liberation, our freedom, our blessings through gratitude and prayer.

* How did you celebrate the 4th of July this year? Will it be different in the future?

* What are some of your blessings and freedoms that you are grateful for?

Beloved Creator, we thank you for creating us as your children in this amazing world. Thank you so much for the gifts of freedom, of liberty, of life. May we not take them for granted. May we celebrate our “independence” with solemn acts of devotion to You, our God Almighty. Amen.

Joy Carol


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3 Responses to Appreciating Our Freedoms

  1. donice Oden says:

    Thank you for this timely subject..yes, we need to celebrate the day with thanksgiving. I feel we have fallen short when it comes to sharing this history with the coming generations..they only think of it as a holiday. The meaning has slipped by in our afflunce and mission to be entertained by various means.
    I love your posts and stop whatever I am doing to read them. Thank you for your example of courage and strength and deep faith., Blessings, Donice Oden

  2. Patricia McCarthy says:

    Thank you for your message. I thought I was the only one that had a year of illness and confinement. Hope you are doing better. Would love to hear more details at my email address if you don’t mind.

  3. Dear Joy, I am so happy to see that you are keeping a blog like this. Independence Day really is a big deal but it’s taken me a lot of years to really grasp that fact. We celebrate (if we manage to do so) mostly without thinking about the underlying reality and how precious our freedom really is.

    Thank you, Joy!


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