The year 2020 has, so far, been throwing so many curveballs our way that I’m sure some people wouldn’t be surprised if this upcoming Independence Day actually looked a bit like the 1996 science-fiction movie of the same name. Of course, I entirely hope your day or weekend of jubilation doesn’t involve a worldwide attack by some overly aggressive extraterrestrials. Especially under the circumstances, I hope it is a time of remembrance, recognition, celebration … and hope.
As you well know, July 4th is the birth of our American independence, even though John Adams believed July 2nd (when the Continental Congress entered a near-unanimous vote in favor of a resolution for independence) was actually the correct date to celebrate our new nation. But two intense, daring and exciting days later, the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted, and America, in some respects, officially had its birth certificate!
With that distinct beginning, the Founding Fathers set forth some pretty high standards for America, including ensuring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all! And if that wasn’t enough, they also set forth to guarantee certain fundamental rights — these included freedom of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, and the right to a fair trial — against infringement by the federal government.
Of course, just like with any growing nation (or like any growing individual for that matter), America has definitely been through a lot in these last 244 years. But two centuries is still a relatively young age when you compare us to other nations. Perhaps you could say we’ve made it past the newborn stages and the terrible toddler years. And we’ve survived the awkward pre-teens and maybe now we’re figuring our way through those challenging, confusing and sometimes rebellious teens.
No matter how you look at it, we are a pretty darn amazing country of fighters and dreamers. We may all be very different in our backgrounds, our talents and our goals, but we all are very similar in our enjoyment of some very unique liberties and freedoms. I just hope America as a country keeps rooting for success and keeps looking to the future for opportunities, for growth and for improvement. But equally as important, I hope that America and its people never forget our Independence Day — our birthday — and all the milestones we have made it through, from the mistakes and tragedies to the accomplishments and triumphs.
Let’s remember this Fourth of July as a chance to remember our history, recognize our heritage and celebrate our people. And as we hope for (and work toward) that “great, big, beautiful tomorrow,” may we never forget the paths that led us here.
So happy birthday to us all! Happy birthday, dear America. And many, many more!
About Beth Alcazar
Author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals and associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Beth Alcazar has enjoyed nearly two decades of teaching and working in the firearms industry. She holds degrees in language arts, education and communication management and uses her experience and enthusiasm to share safe and responsible firearms ownership and usage with others. Beth is certified through the NRA as a Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for multiple disciplines. She is also a Certified Instructor through SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute, DRAW School, TWAW and I.C.E. Training and is a USCCA Certified Instructor and Senior Training Counselor.