It is no secret that the 4th of July, much like other holidays, has become commercialized way past the original thought of Independence Day.
Multi-thousand dollar firework shows, golf cart and boat parades, and Joey Chestnut eating 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes on national television.
While I took advantage of many of those liberties over the weekend, including fireworks, a day on the lake, and way too much food, I was reminded of the one symbol that puts everything about the 4th of July and our country in perspective.
The American Flag.
The United States flag does not represent the National Anthem, nor does it represent equality throughout our country.
It represents opportunity.
It has 13 stripes to signify 13 original colonies, and 50 more stars to represent all 50 states. It signifies the history of each state, how they started and all the things they have faced, overcome and triumphed through along the way.
The American Flag represents many freedoms we have. Freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assemble and protest.
These are all things that are important. All things that separate the United States from other countries, and consistently have drawn people in from all over the world generation after generation.
Our flag signifies each step in history our country has made in the last 244 years. Whether it’s been moments that have moved America ahead or made us take steps backward — it’s all been key steps in molding the U.S.A and will continue to do so for years and years to come.
There’s a fine line between erasing history and remembering all the points both good and bad, and we are shredding that line like a 9.4 quake on the San Andreas Fault.
In Indiana we suffer through very cold winter days and very hot summer days just to enjoy those select perfect weather days. And that’s kind of how I look at history. There are trying times in our country almost every single day. But each morning the sun rises and 330 million people set out to do their part, and each night the sun sets and hopefully we’ve all done our part to make our community, and ultimately our country, a better place to live. A better place to thrive as individuals.
Our history is important.
Both sides of the Civil War are history, and the outcome was positive, but that doesn’t mean the alternative isn’t important to reflect on — to remember that we got it right.
From Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X’s march for civil rights to present day with continued social injustice, the history matters. It helps signify how far we’ve come, yet how far we still have to go.
We can’t rewrite history, so let’s all please stop trying. Instead let’s march forward. Let’s wake up every single day and strive to do better than the day before. Strive to make our neighborhood, our towns, and our state better.
The freedoms that we take advantage of every day are the best part about our country. Some of us with more freedoms than others, let’s not stop until we all have equal opportunity.
Let’s do our part to continue making the United States of America the greatest country in the world.
Jared McMurry was born and raised in Montgomery County and is the Sports Editor of the Journal Review. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 765-918-8656. Follow him on Twitter @jaredmac26