Happy 241st Birthday, America.
Bear in mind: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” and in the end, when the Founding Fathers declared at the end of the document: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” They were about to do something dangerous, and they knew it. The experiment continues, 241 years later. It hasn’t been easy, but don’t give up.
And, so NPR did its annual reading of the Declaration of Independence. Yes, it was the Founding Fathers’ airing of grievances against the King of England, but it was more than that – it was about creating a nation – imperfect, but paving a way for revolution.
Amid the celebrations, take a moment to reflect on the meaning of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and don’t forget that the Constitution does say we’re “to form a more perfect union.” I was listening to Brian Lehrer’s show on WNYC the other day and he made an interesting point about America’s birthday: like any birthday, acknowledge it, warts and all, and hope (and work) for better. (btw, I’ll link to the Brian Lehrer show segment – it was interesting to hear listeners call in to say how they felt about being American).
Lots of cool things happened on 7/4. Weirdly: both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4.
July 4, 1827 is also Emancipation Day for NYS, as the day that slavery was finally abolished in NYS.
July 4, 2017, is also the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal, which transformed NYS and NYC (see here for a WNYC item on this).
July 4, 2017, is also the 20th anniversary since Pathfinder made it to Mars.
Well, at least I’m trying to be on the bright side on this holiday. You should too!