This week, we celebrate Independence Day – or as it’s too often simply referred to – the “4th of July.” What does this day mean to each of us? For me, it brings back memories of parades celebrating those who have fought and sacrificed that we may enjoy the freedoms we all love so much. Standing on the sidewalk, I watched men and women in uniform marching past, and I wondered about the journey that brought them to this point, but I rarely got to know them or their stories. Then come the memories of the fireworks celebrations overlooking Veterans Park, where we often wondered if the spectacle in the sky was worth the blood extracted by the swarms of mosquitoes preying upon us. Those of you who live in areas without mosquitoes have no idea what I am talking about; be thankful for such.
As I look back on those much simpler days, I wish that I had gotten to know more about those who stepped forward to fight for our freedoms. I also think back to our founding fathers, their vision for our country, and how much has changed since then. Some things have changed for the better, others yet to be tested by time. However, in this time of global instability and uncertainty, I wish that while many of us may have a different idea about what America should be, let us all remember the words of Thomas Jefferson:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Nowhere in that famous quote is there anything about judging others poorly for their opinion, not to mention outright hostility for those who do not agree unanimously with our own thinking. On this Independence Day, let us each reflect on how we interact with our “neighbors,” and let us find common ground on these most basic of tenants. Imagine what our country could be if we started every conversation, civic engagement and debate with a smile, a kind word, and a promise that we would treat one another with dignity and respect. Rigorous debate is healthy and often produces the greatest outcomes, but it should never become a personal attack. Let’s pray our political leaders and candidates can find reason to celebrate all that binds us together, and lead by example. Until that day appears, let’s work together to do our part to promote civil discourse and honor those who have defended the freedoms we all enjoy.
The purpose of celebrating on July 4th each year is to appreciate how our forefathers secured our freedoms and to honor the sacrifices our troops continue to make to maintain those freedoms. Thank you to our service men and women for all you have done and continue to do for our country. Let’s also remember our own civic responsibility: to research and stay informed about the world around us, to respect the same pursuits of our neighbors, and to work together for a cause greater than oneself. Precision Plus wishes you a safe and Happy Independence Day.
Mike Reader, President