The United States of America is celebrating its 236th birthday tomorrow. That’s a large number for sure, and an age none of us will ever reach with our mortal 70-something longevity (on average). So isn’t there something remarkable about the fact that our democratic system has been passed down from generation to generation, surviving wars and economic crises, to reach an age that no human has the capacity to match?
Aside from all the woe that this year has brought in news, from the economy to election-year issues, America has much to celebrate in its grand history. A modern democracy at its birth, America’s revolution (like others at the time) championed independence and equality. On July 4, 1776, 236 years ago, representatives of the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence as a statement announcing their freedom from the tyranny of the British monarchy and their intent to form their own government. Our democracy was established for the people by the people; it was created for an ever-changing present and a hopeful future. To that end, our country is not just serving those of us in the immediate present. Our country with “liberty and justice for all” has evolved throughout its two-plus centuries to bring truth to these founding words of freedom and equality and serve those who now make up our history and textbooks, and our democratic model will continue to evolve so that all the people it represents (and will represent) find themselves included in our mantra for equality. The U.S. has an imperfect history, and it continues to remain an imperfect nation. But the pillars upon which it was built serve as an ideal and a goal that our evolving democracy must strive to meet.
So let’s celebrate our nation’s birthday as we do every year—with with picnics, fireworks, parades, families, political speeches…and apple pie! But let’s also take time to reflect on the founding ideologies of our nation—“life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—and be better in this 236th year at advancing these rights among all who pay tribute to the American flag.
Happy Birthday America!
IPCE Staff Member