Intermountain Jewish News

Oct 09th

The meaning of American independence

E-mail Print PDF

Who is July 4 really about? The Founding Fathers? The warriors? The heroes?

When it comes to the Fourth of July — as with most other national holidays — all of the clichés have long been spoken.

It’s about more than beer, barbecues and baseball, more than fireworks, more than hanging Old Glory from the porch or bandstand.

It’s even more than taking a moment from our busy and colorful celebrations to think about the courage and vision of those Founding Fathers who, on a sultry summer day in Philadelphia in 1776, dared to stare a mighty and oppressive empire full in the face and, without blinking, defy it.

It’s not only about how the United States of America first came to be but what it has taken to preserve it, to perpetuate it, to work constantly to improve it.

It’s certainly about leaders — men whose names are well-known to us and whose likenesses appear on our money and postage stamps — but, even more so, about those who are, for the most part, nameless and faceless today but whose courage and sacrifice was manifested in places with such names as Gettysburg, Argonne, Normandy, Pusan, Khe Sanh, Tikrit.

And it’s even about more than warriors.

It’s about those who fought for our civil rights, toiled in factories and on farms, taught our children, treated our sick, furthered our knowledge in science, drafted and defended our laws, helped ease the suffering of our poor and disadvantaged, composed songs, painted paintings and wrote books.

The holiday is really about all Americans — of whatever color, background, gender, age or creed — whose intelligence, creativity, energy and belief in freedom have become integral parts of the crazy, hopeful and beautiful quilt that is America.

There’s nothing wrong with showing some enthusiastic national spirit every now and then. Flying the flag and cheering at pyrotechnics are loads of fun, and it’s ennobling to remember the patriots who 238 years ago made all this possible.

Just remember that the Fourth of July goes way beyond that small and determined group of brave visionaries. It’s about the very large group of brave visionaries who have come in their wake, who follow and expand upon their example today and who — G-d willing — will continue to do so long into the future.

It’s really about us.

Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News


IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Cast Your Vote

Will the Broncos make it to Super Bowl 50?

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Rabbi appointed Pope Francis’ ‘comedic advisor’

Jas Chana Bob Alper, a rabbi turned stand-up comedian from Vermont, won the ‘Joke With The Pope’ competition to claim the title and $10,000 for charity. ... [Link]

Should we pray for healing when death is imminent?

Lisa Keys A writer struggles to determine which prayer is appropriate when a friend faces terminal illness. ... [Link]

What Syria’s refugees think about Israel might surprise you

Uriel Heilman Syrians believe Israel’s government is in cahoots with Syrian President Bashar Assad and that America wants to keep the Syrian civil war going. ... [Link]

NY Mets in the playoffs: Should they be thanking Bernie Madoff?

Gabe Friedman Mets fans might be able to draw one positive from the worst financial fraud in U.S. history. ... [Link]

Ben Carson blames gun control for the Holocaust

Julie Wiener In an interview on CNN, the Republican presidential hopeful said fewer people would have been killed by the Nazis had more citizens owned guns. ... [Link]

White House calls for fully restored status quo on Temple Mount

Ron Kampeas The Obama administration also condemned escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians. ... [Link]

Why did James Franco need a rabbi? and 7 other Jewish news Qs

Jas Chana Bob Dylan, Kim Kardashian and Madonna walk into a quiz — this one. They’re schmoozing, shilling, maybe even schvitzing. And not to be outdone, James Franco pops in for a little celebrating... [Link]

Netanyahu pins wave of attacks on incitement by Hamas, PA

Marcy Oster Saying terrorism has been ongoing since Zionism began, the prime minister asserted in a nationally televised address, “We will defeat it.” ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942 • •