On July 4, 1776, the Colonists declared their independence from the Crown of England. It was a daring move for a group of fiercely independent pioneers to think they could win out over the British Empire.
It was not a move favored by all Colonists. Many felt loyal to the Crown and were quite content to live in "New England." Some of those migrated to Canada, where they could continue to live under the Crown. One has to wonder how many others were unable to move for any number of reasons ranging from money to health.
In reality, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, both fought against England, were guerilla wars. The British army lined up in their red coats and marched forward, while the colonial band of ruffians, wearing their own street clothes, fired at them from behind trees and other shelters. Interesting that, today, the nation that arose from those colonial guerillas cannot successfully fight a guerilla war.
For the reason of guerilla warfare among many others, the Colonists won those wars, and the United States was born. This week, we celebrate the nation's 232nd birthday.
This year - and every year - while we set off those roman candles and charcoal those hot dogs, let us remember that with privilege comes responsibility. It is not always easy to know what those responsibilities are - let alone, where they begin and where they should end. We need to keep striving to find the answer in order that we do what we need to do without overstepping bounds and doing more than we should. We may give thanks that we are a nation that is ready, willing, and able to step up to the plate and be counted when the chips are down.
At the same time, let us pray that, while striving to help others, we do not forget to help those among our own who are struggling - and there are many. Far more people in this country live on the ragged edge than in Tara. Far too many live in cardboard boxes or on park benches or on heat grates on sidewalks. That should not be acceptable in a nation that was founded for, by, and of the people.
(c) 2008, Virginia Tolles, All Rights Reserved