In July, reflect on a course of human events

Healthy Living

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By Carl Hendrickson, For the Call

Twelve score and four years (244 years) have passed since the birth of our country July 4, 1776. The United States has evolved from the equivalent of a third-world nation with an agrarian economy to an industrial nation.

Unfortunately, too many who celebrate Independence Day every July have little understanding of the document that gave them freedom and liberty.

Look at the end of the Declaration of Independence. With their worldly possessions and even their lives at risk, 56 men signed it. They had security in life with money and property, but they risked it all for themselves and future generations. In the eyes of the British these men were traitors and were charged with treason.

An incredible thought to keep in mind about the Declaration of Independence is its uniqueness. Small entities like the city-states of ancient Greece had some form of democracy. But the concept of government by the people was unique to a large nation.

At the time of the signing, it was believed that political stability could only come from a family-appointed ruler — a king or a queen.

The centuries-old document also is groundbreaking in that it speaks about universal principles. The words “When in the course of human events” refer to any time, any era. The language “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another” can refer to any people, at any time, in any era.

Unfortunately, too many citizens take for granted their freedom and liberty. After all, our rights of free speech, religion and assembly along with our elected government have been with us since birth.

We forget our forefathers struggled to free us from British rule. Our freedom came with a price, and not everyone had their freedom yet. Many of the founding fathers had slaves, and while a woman was the second printer to ever print the Declaration, women didn’t have any of these new rights. That has changed over time.

Having spent eight years in public service as an elected state representative, I realize that we individually and as a people create the society in which we live.

We have within us the same qualities of patriotism that the founding fathers did. Now more than ever, each of us has the creative talent and ability to help find solutions for the many problems facing community and government.

This July, pause and reflect on the free and independent life we enjoy and why.

Happy 244th birthday, America.