July 4th is Independence Day, but if you read the story of America's Independence, there was a delay in actually becoming independent from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was offered to Congress July 4, 1776, but no one signed it at that time. America was still at war. Not until the British surrendered after the Siege of Yorktown on October 19, 1781, and finally, with the Treaty of Paris, the United States was free of Britain's rule September 3, 1783.
John Adams, our first Vice President, and second president of the United States, offered his prophetic thoughts about Independence Day in a letter to his wife, Abigail, July 3, 1776,
"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 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
As we enjoy the fireworks, patriotism, and celebrate with family around the backyard BBQ, let us also remember freedom comes at a cost. Let us take pause to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting against tyranny and oppression in order to break the chains that bound us to the British overlords. Let us remember that even while imperfect, the nation became the strongest, bravest, and most unique nation in the world. It is not something to be ashamed of, but something to marvel at. It is because of our freedoms that we can influence the world. It is because of our unbound potential that we led the world. And it is our own limitations that restrict us from continuing to be the best we can be. Let us remember what the American Dream truly is-Freedom. God Bless America.