Every 4th of July, we have a unique chance to not only celebrate the birthday of America as we know it, but to celebrate everything that makes American life worthwhile. Good food, good friends, tight-knit families, and time-honored traditions are Independence Day staples for that reason.
Independence Day is also a day to reflect on timeless wisdom from some of the people that helped make America great. It’s a time to aspire all over again to be the very best we can be today and every day. The following quotes are just a few tidbits that cover the very essence of what it means to be an American.
1. “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” – Elmer Davis
When you picture what makes America a wonderful place to be, it’s hard not to think of the many brave men and women who were willing to lay down their lives for the country they love. This is especially the case when you consider thousands wound up doing exactly that. “The brave” doesn’t just refer to those in the military, either.
Activists, leaders, innovators, and anyone else who ever dared to dream played a role in making America everything that it is today. Take some time this Independence Day to consider one or two historically significant Americans that fit your definition of brave. Read up on their lives or teach your children a thing or two about the legacy they left behind.
2. “You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness.” – Robert Frost
Whether you’re talking about the past or the present, it goes without saying that hard work proudly and cheerfully done is a large part of what being an American is all about. It’s why one of the first questions we can remember being asked is: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s why we continue to ask new people we meet what they do for a living as a way of getting to know them.
What we do for a living is more than just how we earn our living. Here in America, it’s also a part of who we are and how we contribute to society at large. Consider celebrating July 4th this year by reading up on one historic subcategory of American industry – agricultural history, mining history, architectural history, and so forth.
3. “As mankind become more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community, are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America amongst the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.” – George Washington
Democracy is also a part of what makes America a wonderful place worth celebrating. It’s our reward as Americans for working so hard to preserve and honor our freedom as a nation. To understand the roles democracy and justice play in our country is to appreciate true freedom.
Explore the history of democracy, as well as the American judicial system, this July 4th and consider the many ways it helps us protect everything that’s important in society.
4. “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” – Erma Bombeck
That epic backyard barbecue you look forward to every 4th of July is more than just an excuse to pig out a little and spend time with loved ones. It’s how we celebrate abundance and prosperity: two concepts that are synonymous with America.
This 4th of July, consider the role abundant food, regional cuisine, and time-honored cultural traditions play in your concept of America.
5. “May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!” – Daniel Webster
A lovely land as beautiful as America is nothing if not a diverse one. Visit Texas, New York, and California to name just three possibilities, and it’s almost as if you visited three separate countries! Each represents a different facet of American life and each deserves to be celebrated and appreciated.
Consider the differences and similarities between your home region and other communities across America this Independence Day. Celebrate the unique cultures and approaches to life that come along with each.