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  • Have You Responded Yet? Send Your Thoughts on Independence Day to USA Today

    Last week we wrote about an item that appeared in  USA Today wanting to know your opinion about the meaning and significance of Independence Day:

    Americans celebrate the values that unite us on the Fourth of July, but today the country seems sharply divided. As the country copes with unemployment, immigration and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, what do you think the nation needs to remember this Independence Day? What are the messages you would like to share with other Americans? Write to letters@usatoday.com by June 21. Please include a name, address, and day and evening phone numbers for verification.

    Scholars at The Heritage Foundation have thought a lot about the meaning of America and Why we celebrate Independence Day.  But we want to hear from you!

    The deadline is fast approaching! Leave a comment about the meaning of Independence Day and send your thoughts to USA Today before the June 21 deadline. The Foundry will highlight some of the responses on the Fourth of July. Maybe it will be your response.

    Theresa Smart is an intern in the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    20 Responses to Have You Responded Yet? Send Your Thoughts on Independence Day to USA Today

    1. G Rome, Laguna Nigue says:

      Amidst all of the discussion and vitriol regarding the present-day topics, the importance of observing the U.S. Independence Day is to understand how grand it is to have such discussions, and how parallel our current political/social environment may be to the days that marched toward our declaration of Independence from Britain. We are fortunate to live in such an environment, within such a nation that was founded upon the ideas of discussion and dissent. This nation was founded upon employing these opportunities and "rights," and those abilities usurp the idea of grilling meat and drinking beer awaiting the fireworks.

      The Fourth is an opportunity to appreciate what we have, those who came before us and fought to install this right (as well as to protect it throughout the last 234 years), and to share with the upcoming generation why the United States is still a great nation — and why we utilize such media to share our reasons why it can continue to be so.

      It is a unique holiday in that the only gift that really needs to be exchanged between people is a realization of how much went into this experiment that became a nation — a nation that provided an example for other Western nations to instill similar beliefs in other upstart nations overthrowing the old ideas of rule. The discourse that may follow such a lesson may take on many different tones, and reflect different sides of the political and ideological spectrum, but it ushers the opportunity to do so — a factor that is quite lacking in many other nations of the world.

      For that, we should feel most fortunate. Now pass me a brat and a beer.

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    3. Paul and Beverly, Co says:

      The 4th is usually just picnics, baseball, eating and soaking up those rays! To those of us with loved ones in the military, it means concern for their safety but major pride in what they are doing so we can do all the above! We feel the present government has made these patriotic holidays take on less meaning and we don't like it! Perhaps some of our congress should be required to spend time in the small towns and communities across America where they can get a real feel of how Americians feel about our land and our military. GOD BLESS AMERICA is not being arrogant or selfish but displays our love of country, our fellowman and especially our belief in GOD on whom this country was founded. GOD SAVE OUR CONSTITUTION AND ALL THAT IT STANDS FOR!!

    4. Dennis, Georgia says:

      July 4 should be a day to remember all those that have paid the ultimate for our freedom and liberties in this country. We need to remember that the Constitution is what made this country great, hard work, pride in a job well done and the ability to make our own decisions for our betterment has lead to our prosperty and well being. It is a day to memember that we fought and won the right to be independent from the rule of others, it should be a day to remember that those same rights are under attack by our "guvment" and that we have to once again have to fight for those rights.


    5. Joe Ihle, Brisstow, says:

      Indpendence Day means to me that I have the freedom to make the decisions regarding my life without the government making all my decisions for me. I want to worship God as I see fit, make a living the best I can, communicate freely and be able to pursue the recreation opportunities of my choice. PURE FREEDOM within the law.

    6. Stephen J. Savoie, T says:

      FREEDOM, first and foremost above all within the friendly confines of a civilized society governed by the rule of law. Freedom to worship the GOD of my choosing or not. Freedom to give and receive love from others unconditionally. Freedom to speak my mind without fear of reprisal. The freedom to live and work where I choose to, not where some government entity says I must or can't. Freedom from the onerous burden of crushing taxes and overzealous power hungry bureaucrats. Freedom from kings, queens, dictators and others of their ilk. Freedom to do on and with my private property what I see fit. Freedom to travel throughout the USA without road blocks, check points, and jack booted soldiers. Freedom to spend my earnings on what I like, want, or need, not what some government mandate says I must or can't. Freedom to make my own health care decisions independent of government commissions and their desk bound pencil pushing minions. All of these things and many more define what our Forefathers fought so hard to secure for themselves and future generations of Americans. It is what makes our country unique amongst all that have come before and that exist today. Independence Day is the essence of FREEDOM!!!!

    7. Laura, Seattle, Wash says:

      I want to be independent. Not independent from my family, who needs me and I them. Not independent from my friends who also should be able to rely on me. Independence from government meddling. Meddling in my home, meddlilng in my medical care (recently my 14 year old daughter was given "a confidential form" to complete, right in front of me.) Independence from being filmed at nearly every street corner and now state highways. Independence to employ and/or house whomever I want. Independence to go to a smokey old barroom if that is what I choose.

      Oh, how I long for my country of old. I miss it. I will be feeling ambivalent about our country's future this July 4th. But I will always remain hopeful.

    8. West Texan says:

      Independence means respect for the unalienable Rights of individuals and the freedom of choice. The current congressional leadership and Obama administration have soured my celebratory mood as they've made a mockery of July 4th.

    9. Sam Piazza says:

      Step 1 – Win the House/Senate in Nov 2010

      Step 2 – Commence Impeachment proceedings and prosecution of administration officials for offenses against the nation and the constitution.

    10. MaryAnn says:

      What Independence Day means to me:

      Independence Day means, above all, my freedom to worship God without fear of coercive government restrictions on my conscience rights. It means my freedom to speak and to obtain information without fear of government reprisal.

      Independence Day means my right to educate my children about the truth of America, including the truth of her founding, her Christian foundation and heritage, her generosity and willingness to spend her blood and treasure to protect our freedom at home and abroad, and to promote freedom where it sadly does not exist.

      It means that I have the right to expect that my government respect and uphold the Constitution of The United States and the rule of law. I have the right to demand that my government assure a republican form of government.

      Independence Day means that I have the right to demand that my government take whatever actions are necessary to protect my freedoms and the sovereignty of America.

      It means my freedom to succeed or fail according to the amount of effort I expend. Conversely, it means my freedom to NOT pay for anyone else's failure.

      Independence Day means my right to keep all the rewards of my labor, without the fear of coercive government tactics to steal from me. It also means that I recognize and fulfill my obligations, to the best of my ability, toward my neighbor who may be in need; but that the decision to do so is mine- not the governments.

      Independence Day means remembering what the cost of freedom is by remembering and honoring all those men and women who have suffered and died for it, and remembering those who are fighting, suffering and dying today to keep America free.

      Independence Day means recognizing that I owe tremendous debt to America, and remembering to thank God every day for America and that I am so blessed to call America my home.

    11. Richard Nelson, Minn says:

      The 4th of July is when we celebrate our independence from a large, overtaxing government……………..so we could create our own large, overtaxing government.

    12. Shirley, Arizona says:

      Independence Day July 4th, 1776 to July 4th, 2010

      Honoring our forefathers who gave so much to write the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights to give us the freedom from oppression. Remember the Colonials who gave their lives to fight with George Washington for these rights.

      We should always Honor our men and women who have fought and died to keep our country safe and our freedoms intact.

      God has been the source of this country's greatness and we should be thanking Him every day of our lives for this great gift he has bestowed on us. Now though we need to return to Him and his goodness that brought this country as the only free nation in the world. We are close to losing that status, so remember to vote in November 2010 and hopefully our votes will oust the people who continue to take our freedoms away..

    13. Sallie Helmer says:

      Every human soul longs for freedom. We have it in this great country called the United States of America. God of the Bible not the god of the Qur'an gave me this great blessing of being born here. The Founding Fathers, inspired and guided by this superior being, wrote the best form of government on earth. We are a Christian nation. This 4th of July and every day we must teach our children the Constitution and our form of government. When my family says grace before our cook out and everyday we will pray for victory over tyranny coming from within our government and from foreign governments, wisdom to identify and overcome such enemies. NBC and the main stream media tell us it is not so. We know better and will be voting this November 2, 2010 just 121 days after this 4th of July to keep our present form of government. Those Progressives for Socialism (Social Justice) should know history proves this form of government is now and has always been a failure. Proud to fly the flag this 4th of July!

    14. Bradley A Harris says:

      Despite our current issues, this is still the greatest nation in the world. Fourth of July is a time to reflect and be thankful for our freedom. To reflect back to our founding fathers who had a vision for this country. That this country despite recent comments, was founded on Godly principles. This is a Christian Nation and not a secular nation. On this fourth of July, we should give thanks to our Lord for this great nation. Give thanks to God for the freedoms we enjoy everyday. To remember those that have gone before us that have given their lives for our freedom On this Fourth let freedom ring out.

    15. H Hamilton, Tennesse says:

      Independence Day is a day all of us should reflect on the freedom, liberties, rights and responsibilities that we have been given as Americans. Up until this year, Independence Day has most often meant some type of celebration with little though really given to our founding fathers, their struggles and all the men and women who have fought and worked to keep our country free over the past two hundred plus years. I truly feel a turning in this country occurring. We seem to be moving away from the most treasured attributes of being a country of free people with the opportunity to live our lives to the best of our ability without too much interference from onerous regulation from government. It is my opinion our government is too quickly becoming what our forefathers fought so vehemently against those many years ago. Our government is becoming increasingly bold in trying to take over ever more aspects of our lives. Our elected officials will promise the moon and pay for the promises with not only our money but our children’s and great grandchildren’s money. It has become about power; not about serving and working toward our common good. Capitalism, the system that has allowed us to become the most successful people and the most powerful country the world has ever known has become a dirty word. Socialism or a system that seems to provide for its people without the people having a responsibility to provide for themselves seems to be the wave of our future; the government can only care for its people as long as they have an income stream generated by the working people. That wave will spell death to our culture and way of life in a very short period of time. How long has any socialist or communist regime lasted. I for one do not care for that end.

      Speaking of culture, our forefathers came to this country with a very strong belief in God. If you go back though, they were for the most part protestants from Europe but their religious beliefs were all unique to their own congregants. But they all did believe in God and by our various religions found a way to get along with one another. Our forefathers believed we must separate church and state in our government affairs. I don’t think they meant we should take our Christian beliefs and morals out of the spirit of our laws. The country was founded upon Christian principles and I believe the vast majority of Americans believe we should behave as such today. The fringe groups have a right to be heard but they should not necessarily have an expectation of their fringe beliefs becoming the norm. That is why we have elections and that is why we need honorable people running in these elections. Making sure the will of the people is done for the vast majority while still apply a measure of fairness for everyone. Frankly, this is something we could all use of bit of God’s help with.

      This Independence Day I will reflect upon what has happened in the past, keep a close eye on what is happening in the present and pray to God to help us in the future.

    16. Cliff, North Little says:

      We need to acknowledge what we already have …BEFORE we lose it!

      Our National Independence (itself) DEPENDS squarely upon our collective conscious awareness of what it takes to – KEEP THE REPUBLIC – as Mr. Franklin cautioned the curious of the founding.

      This likely would require a better understanding of the differences within the likeness: How our (freedom-from) tends to compete with our (freedom-to) actually (take-the-liberty) to DO SOMETHING productive for our country. Being able to determine the virtues embedded within

      SELF INTEREST while cognizant of its nemesis SELFISHNESS. Allowing for a humble pride to help us express our efforts of merit that

      deserve such and to avoid the arrogant huberistic approach at all cost!

      Finally, while admitting her (FAULTS), rightly exclaim how her (VIRTUES) … DWARF them and undoubtedly TRIUMPH over them when our American Mind allows for a pondering of the elusive complexity of the battle between the two.

      Let's renew OUR bond with HISTORY … from the pre-founding days up thru our teeth-cuttin' and even NOW !!! Books, blogs, and sites of ALL types are out there. Libraries are mostly still open. Flea markets, yard sales, antique shops, coffee shops, give aways in the newspaper … all await YOUR TAKE on what we seem to be losing !!!!

      Find the connections and connect to them !!!

    17. Bobbie Jo says:

      Independence in America, is the freedom of the people, from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of government. Independence Day is a day celebrated in commemoration of the signed Declaration of Independence, what the people took on for 233 years, with the assumed understanding that it is respected by those in the government of a free country, who took an oath to honor and protect and not interfere…

      Treason is an impeachable offense.

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    19. Michael McNabb says:

      I will spend this 4th of July praying in my Father's House, I am always welcome there. I will ask his foregiveness and that he once again shine his grace on our great land and people giving us the intellect to save our constitution from the progressives. Please come join me. Sincerely, Your Fellow American

    20. Patricia says:

      Independence Day… precious and hard won, do not let it slip into exile. America the bastion of liberty and opportunity in the whole world!. I appreciate it the more; I know because I was not born here and I understand what it is when devious men try and steal it.

      Lets start by protecting our borders or we will pretty soon find out we do not have a country any more. That is a start, it is hard to keep our country if we do not even appreciate how great it is.

      Next election we will hold those politicians accountable for the dejection of our constitution which they sworn to uphold and respect. The destruction of our freedoms, the loss of our economic viability and the dangers that we are being put into by our non-existing energy policy and the curtailing of our resources.

      May God Save America!

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