Are you excitedly counting the days until the fourth of July? With only a few days left, it’s fair to say that most households already have a plan for the celebrations. Independence Day is a day whose meaning runs deep underneath our skins. It marks the birth of the United States as an independent country. The vision of the Founding Fathers and those who fought for independence continues to ring true today. So, when you choose to throw an Independence Day party, you’re not just demonstrating your patriotism. You’re also reminding yourself of the core values that make America.
Whether you are preparing grown-up, colorful drinks for the fourth of July or have been introducing a red-white-blue palette inside your home, there’s a lot more to the celebration than meets the eye. So, while you are gearing up for the party, you might want to take the time to measure how much independence affects your day-to-day decisions. It might sound odd to think of what Independence Day means to you. Of course, it is a celebration of patriotism. It is the birth of the United States and the free union of the thirteen American colonies. But, for once, how about you start thinking about what animated the people who have made July 4 possible? Indeed, we often quote big, historical names such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. Yet, people come and go. The mention of Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin exists only in history books. On the other hand, the thoughts, aspirations, emotions, and desires that drove the Declaration of Independence live on among the people of today. What can we learn from the past that can still inspire a better future for all? Here are some helpful thoughts to embrace the first American values and apply them to your everyday life.
Originally, America is a country of immigrants
Most people are ancestors from all over the planet, ranging from Asian countries to Africa and Europe. We, Americans, share one thing: Our ancestors were born elsewhere. Our ancestors once wore the colors of a different flag. Indeed, if you think of the first recognized settlement in American history were Spanish with Columbus, and then the British with Jamestown as the first permanent English settlement. Dutch traders, French independence supporters, British colonialists and slaves, these are the main communities that came together through the independence process. In the south, the Mexican population settles in the southern states. The coast welcomed travelers from Asia. Ultimately, America is a nation built by people from a variety of backgrounds and origins, as these maps reveal. As a result, it appears fair to remind ourselves that we were the immigrants of yesterday. With this knowledge, we can welcome our fellow newcomers with open arms, whether they are leaving their American partner via a divorce after filing I-751 or applying for a work visa, the immigrants of today are the Americans of tomorrow — just like the immigrants of yesterday became the Americans of today.
United by the American Dream
The American Dream is a popular concept. Countless people who moved to American in the past were said to pursue the American Dream. The Declaration of Independence proclaims that all individuals are created equal and have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. It’s only in 1931 that James Truslow Adams provided a tangible description of what the dream encompasses. A “dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with the opportunity for each according to ability and achievement.” As such, the American Dream embraces the opportunity for success, wealth, and upward social mobility through hard work. Unlike systems controlled by monarchy or classes, the dream promises that the individual circumstances of your birth do not affect or decide your future. While America may not have yet achieved the impossible dream of social mobility for all, everyday new lessons are being learned. Remembering that we are all born with the same rights is a humbling process, as you can understand that misfortune can happen just as easily as success for anyone. With this in mind, why not make your Fourth of July all about through who have fallen through the gaps in American society. Helping and respecting homeless communities is a fantastic way to remind them that that they remain human beings with the same rights and aspirations as everyone else.
The sacrifices our ancestors made
Along with the American Dream, it is worth mentioning that the dream is the result of hard work. Creating America was a brave act of courage that demanded many sacrifices from those who believed in its values. We often take the past for granted without questioning the hardships the first Americans went through. The Declaration of Independence didn’t put an end to the challenges faced by the founding fathers and their supporters. On the contrary, it was only the beginning of a long conflict to gain freedom and independence. Every battle came at a high cost for human lives. While your dream may not require the same kind of sacrifice nowadays, it makes no doubt that the road to success is paved with tough decisions, compromises, sacrifices, and hard work. Failures and stepbacks may also be part of the journey before you achieve your goal. But like the people who believed in a free America, you have to realize that the road to success isn’t smooth and effort-free.
America didn’t free itself alone
The American Revolution wasn’t won alone. Some British soldiers changed sides and decided to fight alongside the colonies. Slaves were enrolled to support the colonies. Additionally, Benjamin Franklin reached out to foreign allies for support. France provided troops, armament, military leadership, naval support, and money to enable the Continental Army’s victory. This first lesson learned by our countries important. You do not have to fight your battles alone. More importantly, you can also find the inspiration to support the people around you. We are all fighting a battle to make our American Dream come true. Just as the thirteen colonies needed help to win, those around you could succeed with your help. Together, we are stronger. Together, we strive. So, why not seize the opportunity to reach out to your neighbors or relatives to ask them if they need something? You could be there for someone who has social anxiety or mentor a friend who wants to change career. There are hundreds of ways of helping in the spirit of Independence Day.
What is the dream of the new America?
We need to be realistic. The American Dream that claims everybody is born with the same rights is incorrect. It is an ideal, but there is still a long way to go. We live in a society where citizens experience persistent disparities based on gender bias, racial discrimination, age bias, immigration, and other forms of discrimination. To make the pursuit of happiness real for everyone, we need to come together and fight biased obstacles.
Additionally, it is also time to review our definition of success. Is success being rich, or is it having enough to manage your needs? Is success achieving a top managerial position or finding a role that provides fulfillment and joy? Ultimately, building a life that you’re proud of begins with understanding what you want to use your finite energy and attention for. The American Dream of the 21st century needs to include happiness, peace, and our planet.
As the Fourth of July is approaching, we must remind ourselves that we are the master of our destiny, just as the founding fathers were. It’s time to take our lives and the American Dream into our hands to build an America that works for every single one of us.