Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Today we celebrate the 232nd birthday of the United States. This day in 1776, in a hot, humid hall in Philadelphia 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence from England. Thomas Jefferson wrote the declaration and the last paragraph of the Declaration says it all:

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

These men risked everything for the foundation of America. I like to think that they all would be pleased with how things turned out for what they started.

For me, this is the first Independence Day since 1985 when I have not been in uniform. Each 4th of July is special, but when I served in the Navy, the day had special meaning to me. Throughout my career, I served at the pleasure of the President, sworn to uphold the Constitution which was also written in large part by the same man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Since the 4th of July is a Federal holiday, I would normally have the day off, but there were times I had duty or deployed. Reflecting on my career, here are some of the places I have spent the Fourth of July:

1) Naval Station Great Lakes, IL
2) Naval Station Pearl Harbor, HI
3) Naval Station Agana, Guam
4) Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory
5) Naval Support Activity, Yokosuka, Japan
6) Underway in the Atlantic Ocean
7) Underway in the Indian Ocean
8) Underway in the Pacific Ocean

A rather eclectic geographic group, but in their own way, each day was special. Happy Birthday, America!

1 comment:

Lisa and Gary... said...

Happy 4th of July. Glad you came back to shore safely.