The Fourth of July in southern Indiana means fireworks, parades, barbecues, and perhaps, even a trip to Holiday World with friends and family. It is a weekend full of red, white and blue, spent with tightknit communities celebrating our nation’s freedom. As the United States turns 240 years old, it’s important to fully appreciate just how our country came to be and what lessons we can learn from those we fondly call our Founding Fathers.
The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence understood the significance of their actions. From thousands of miles away, 13 colonies were declaring, via a written document, that they would be forever free from the rules and regulations of the world’s greatest superpower. John Adams wrote that breaking away from Britain would be commemorated as the “day of deliverance” for generations to come. Both young and old generations bore witness to this historic event during the revolution. The document’s oldest signer, Ben Franklin, was 70 years old at the time. There was a 44-year age difference between Franklin and the youngest signer, Edward Rutledge, who was just 26. There were colonists from the South, those from large cities in the Northeast, and even some who were native to Britain, the very country our fledgling nation was attempting to break away from.
By the time of the signing, the Revolutionary War was in full swing. The 1,458 word declaration emphasized the Founders were not only serious about severing ties with Great Britain on the battlefield, but also on a worldwide stage through diplomacy.
The creation of the United States was a defining moment in global history; it offers Americans today the chance to remember the strength and courage of conviction it took to gain independence. While sometimes government is perceived to be full of partisan gridlock and division, it is important to keep in mind that even the Founders had their differences. America has always had factions and disagreement. Our backgrounds, experiences and views are diverse and complex but the acceptance and camaraderie we share despite these differences is what makes our country so special.
On this day we commemorate our national “deliverance,” it is incumbent upon us to remember those who dedicated their lives for the idea of a free nation that promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As we sit 240 years later and enjoy the company of our fellow Hoosiers this weekend, we can truly honor our Founding Fathers by encouraging unity today and tomorrow. Despite our wide range of viewpoints, we must preserve the free expression of ideas from those of all backgrounds through both our words and actions in order to constantly improve our great nation. We owe it to them.
As we celebrate Independence Day, please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.