Please, remember what the 4th of July stands for:

Today is not about hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, not about taking the day off work, or a three-day weekend….It’s not about having the day off to spend the weekend at the lake with your boat or the jet-skis….It is not about drinking beer with others…. or fireworks…Or any combination of the above.

Today is the day when we celebrate the beginning of the country known as the United States. Today was the date that the Declaration of Independence was ratified by congress. This was not the only significant day in the birth of our nation, but today is the day on which we celebrate the declaration that the thirteen colonies would no longer answer to King George.

Today was the day in which 56 signers of the Declaration chose to defy the King, and to declare their independence. They chose to sign, pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Many did indeed lose their fortunes, some their lives, but all held onto their honor.

We have a country today,  arguably the best on earth, only because these men took the step they did, and then later, created the Constitution which sets forth the principles of governance of we, the citizens of this United States. But this post is not about the Constitution, but rather the day which memorializes the declaration that this country and the colonies and its citizens would no longer be subjects of, nor under the rule of, a far away king. This day, 234 years ago, those 56 signers threw their defiance at a country and a king, and declared a new country. They became criminals in the eyes of their then king and his government. It took courage to do what they did. They essentially started a war.

So today, and Monday if you have it off, enjoy your beer, your hot dogs/hamburgers, etc. Live life happy if you are at the lake enjoying your boating. If you are at a gathering, be happy with your friends or family.

But remember why you have this day off from work. Take a moment to reflect on the momentous thing which we memorialize and celebrate on this Independence day, this July 4th 2010. Remember what happened in 1776 and be glad that it did. Take a moment, raise a glass, THINK about what this day really means. If you have children, take the time to explain why this is such a momentous day. Explain to them that it is not just about a day off of work, nor fireworks, but why this day is important. Take the time to follow the link and read the text of the declaration. Think what a momentous document it is.

And say thank you to 56 men who had courage.