By State Senator Jay Hottinger (Guest Columnist)
Many aspects of our daily lives may not feel normal this summer as we experience life in the midst of a pandemic. The Fourth of July is no exception as many communities will not be holding fireworks celebrations or festivals this year. Despite everything that is going on in our nation, I believe that this year more than ever we must take time to be thankful for our freedoms and remember why we celebrate the Fourth of July.
In a time when some are trying to rewrite history, it is imperative that we understand our past and why we pause to celebrate our freedoms. When the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it solidified what is probably the most significant date in our nation’s history.
While over two hundred years now separate us from the patriots who would sign the Declaration of Independence and fight for our freedoms in the Revolutionary War, I hope this July 4th you will remember the dedication and sacrifice of those who came before us. Many signers of the Declaration of Independence were captured, killed, had their homes destroyed, or lost their lives fighting in the war. Their faith in God and country were so strong that they were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that others, like us today, could enjoy our freedoms as Americans.
America has undergone many changes and added countless pages to the books of its history since the year 1776, but one thing remains – we are still a nation grounded in the words of the Declaration. We are all created equal with God-given rights. It is crucial that we continue to teach those words and principles to the generations to come so that they understand the true meaning of freedom and what it means to be an American.
Especially with the issues and unrest facing our country today, our nation may not be perfect, and we still have ways we need to come together to improve the lives and opportunities of every American. The United States is resilient, and we have been through difficult times before.
Now more than ever we need to focus on our liberties and the common bonds that tie us together as a nation. We may come from different states, ethnicities, families or economic backgrounds, but we are all Americans. As I have often said, we are more than a red nation or a blue nation – we are a red, white and blue nation that is held together by the fabric of our American flag.
This Fourth of July, I urge you to celebrate safely and take time to slow down and be thankful for our freedoms and liberties. We must never take them for granted. We must fight to uphold them. We must teach these principles and our history to our children so that they too will be forever grateful for this great nation we call America. (Senator Jay Hottinger represents the people of Ohio’s 31stSenate District, which includes all of Licking, Perry, Coshocton and Tuscarawas Counties and part of Holmes County.)