As we celebrate freedom, recall sacrifice as well
Published: Thursday, July 3rd, 2003
Today we celebrate the 227th birthday of the United States of America. In Clovis, the annual Smoke on the Water event kicks off at 4 p.m. at Greene Acres Park with games and food vendors. Country singer Holly Dunn performs at 8 p.m., then fireworks start at dark. Joe’s Boot Shop on Mabry Drive began its annual tent concerts on Thursday and they continue through Saturday with Cooder Graw, Lynn Anderson and Emilio among the well-known performers. Portales has a fireworks show tonight at Eastern New Mexico University, Melrose will host a community hamburger cookout at 5 p.m. today at its football field prior to fireworks and Muleshoe has a busy day planned, beginning with a parade at 10 a.m. (CDT) on Main Street. And with recent rains, fireworks-related grass fires are less of a concern than usual all across the region. If you can’t have fun around here this weekend, you’re not trying. We applaud celebrations and hope many will take time to think about the passion for liberty that drove this nation’s founders to sever their relationship with England, pledging “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” On July 4, 1776, they signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, which began as follows: “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 rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” Today, then, is a time to step back and find assurance in the time-honored principles that have been the bedrock of America’s greatness. We wonder how this document of independence in all its fullness would be interpreted today. We were founded upon and have been sustained through the understanding that liberty is at the heart of the American experience — that this nation would put into practice the belief that freedom is a gift from the Creator and that proper stewardship of the free life carries with it responsibility in how we lead our lives and serve one another. As the Declaration of Independence signers understood, freedom was not without sacrifice. Some were captured by British troops as traitors, others lost homes, property and sons in the fight for independence. Many endured hardship, physical and financial, simply by standing firm for the cause of freedom. As we celebrate this holiday with cookouts and fireworks and live music, may we also appreciate the blessings of liberty and the vigilance required to maintain it.
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