It is the holiday weekend—the 4th of July, Independence Day!
The Declaration of Independence proclaimed to the world the cause for armed rebellion against the British King, and the attempts in seeking relief from the King before resorting to arms. Though the war had been ongoing since April 1775 it would not come to a conclusion until September 1783.
In between are the names of Lexington and Concord; Bunker Hill; Valley Forge, Yorktown, and many others. Larger than life, almost mythical, names include George Washington; Henry Knox; Nathanael Greene; the Marquis de Lafayette, Friedrich von Steuben, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.
As important as the 4th of July is, I believe we should also dwell on the deeper meaning of this day. The meaning goes far beyond successful armed rebellion against a repressive government—the deeper meaning is the establishment of a new nation, the establishment of a democratic form of government, and the writing of one of the foremost documents of its time or since.
The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia adopted the Constitution of the United States in September 1787, though it would not go into effect until March 1789. Consider the preamble to the Constitution of the United States:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
In a little over 4,500 words this document, imperfect as it was, provided the hopeful people of a fledgling nation with the legal framework needed to guide both on their path to greatness. Some of the imperfections of this document were later corrected through the adoption of the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Fortunately “the framers” had the foresight to provide the means for the People to amend the Constitution as they saw fit.
The Constitution has been praised and condemned. Jurists argue that it is a “living document” that adapts to meet the needs of the People, while other jurists argue that it should not be considered so. Regardless of how it is perceived, the Constitution provides us with the means to govern ourselves, the ability to hold accountable those who lead our government, and to argue with our elected leaders—all without fear of being arrested without cause or due process, or arbitrarily confined to labor camps or psychiatric hospitals, or unjustly deprived of personal property, as other nations have done to their own citizens.
Is it any wonder that for centuries millions of immigrants hoping for a better life have fled wars, political persecution, and national upheavals, for this country? It takes courage, and hope, to leave one’s homeland for another country. In a sense they may better understand the Constitution and the promise of democracy as offered, than do native-born citizens.
So, take the time to read this magnificent document. Take a moment to remember that the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights would have never come to be if not for the courage of ordinary men and women who fought for such lofty ideals as written down on sheets of parchment by their peers in a long and costly war.
On this 4th of July, take a moment to reflect on what this day really means.
About SS Hampton, Sr.
SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is a veteran with prior service in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). On 1 July 2013 he retired from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter, and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. In December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.
Find SS Hampton, Sr. Online:
Melange Books: https://melange-books.com/authors/sshampton/index.html
Amazon.com Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ
Amazon.com. UK Author Page http://www.amazon.co.uk/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVK:Q
Goodreads Author Page http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888342.S_S_Hampton_Sr:_