Letter to the Editor: Submitted by David E. Schafer

To the Editor:
In just a day or so, our nation will celebrate the 4th of July in flare and fanfare. It is only fitting that we mark the 248th anniversary of our nation’s founding in this manner. I still fill with pride remembering the first time I saw an original copy of America’s birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, in Washington, D.C. Most Americans are familiar with the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These words along with the full contentions of the Document set in most a call for freedom from the oppressive rule of the British Empire. A fierce war for freedom ensued for seven years between the Red Coats and the colonists. Finally, peace was achieved in 1781 with the victory at Yorktown, Virginia and the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The United States of America was now an independent nation. When the flag waved in the breeze, it did so as a testament of the freedoms of the citizens of the land. Over the years, our nation has witnessed its ups and downs. America is not a perfect nation, nor does it claim to be. And yet, we are a work in progress seeking the betterment of all so that freedom for all might be a genuine reality.

Over the last few weeks, I have asked a number of individuals of our county, both young and old, for their thoughts on the meaning of freedom. Many expressed the opinion that freedom includes the freedom to come and go, the freedom of expression, the freedom to choose a vocation, the freedom to worship, and the freedom of self-expression.

Some expressed their concerns for the continuance of freedom regarding who wins the White House in the fall’s election. A handful wondered if we take our freedoms for granted, if we are mindful of the cost of the freedoms that we enjoy.  A number of people stated that “Freedom isn’t free”.  They said that we are to thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice.

One person told me that the song “God Bless the U.S.A.” summarizes their definition of what freedom means. Another person wrote in part, “Freedom is the liberty to order and live my life under a connotationally ordered rule of law…”  A clever person used the spelling of the word to offer his thoughts.

“F - forgiveness; when I forgive another or myself; R - relishing the liberty that we enjoy; E - eating healthy foods. I am being fed freedom; E - encouraging words to people, I promote freedom; D - deciding to always accept God’s will; O - obeying the Lord’s will; and M - ministering to others.

The Declaration of Independence ends with these stirring words, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” With these closing words, 56 delegates of the Continental Congress signed their names. If these men would have been captured, their signatures would have been a death sentence.  For the sake of our freedoms, would we dare sign our names to such a warrant?

What are your thoughts on the meaning of freedom?  As you gather with family and friends over the holiday, have a conversation about freedom and thank a veteran. Thank those who have ensured the freedoms we enjoy and thank God for the freedom that He has graced us with. Happy Birthday America! For all eternity, let freedom ring!

David E. Schafer