By Emma Kaden

When you think of the 4th of July, you probably think of fireworks, parades, concerts, and barbeques— a celebration, a day to get together with friends and family and have a genuinely good time. Although it can be fun to celebrate Independence Day, it’s also important to consider the real reason the 4th of July is observed:  to celebrate the freedom the Founding Fathers fought so hard for centuries ago.

When the American colonists declared independence from Great Britain, they sparked an 8-year-long war for freedom. During the war, 25,000 American soldiers died, and another estimated 25,000 were wounded or maimed. The freedom those soldiers fought for is only strengthened by their casualties, and we should continue to respect their sacrifice and bravery, even all these years later. While it can be fun to enjoy the day off with your loved ones, you should also remember what America’s Founding Fathers fought for, and why you’re now free to celebrate.

Perhaps celebration is fitting for a holiday, especially a birthday, but this birthday should get special treatment— after all, it’s the birthday of the United States and the anniversary of our independence from Great Britain. Though Independence Day celebrations date back all the way to the 18th century, back then it was much more of a relief to be independent, as colonists knew exactly what it was like to be under the rule of a monarch holding them captive. Although we can never understand exactly what it was like for the colonists who fought to escape British rule, we can respect the things they gave up to set us free.

So go ahead, celebrate your 4th of July, enjoy the barbeques and the fireworks, but don’t forget to reflect on the reason for the national holiday, and what it truly means to be an American: freedom.

‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness’ — Happy 4th of July!
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