Lessons of Independence Past

Pittsburgh skyline

The Steel Town City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I was born and raised will be booming literally come 4th of July with festivities and a traffic stopping, jaw dropping fireworks display as is tradition here each year. But, what I really want to know is how many citizens across the nation who will celebrate the 4th of July actually know the detailed history behind the Independence Holiday? Yes, these are the questions that transpire in the wee hours of the night.

For instance, do those who will be dressed in a sea of red, white and blue this Wednesday in honor of our nation’s independence, know that the Declaration of Independence was actually entitled ‘The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America’ and that it was written by Thomas Jefferson with the help of 4 other men back in 1776 to gain freedom from British rule? By the way, it took him a total of 17 days to complete the document. Did they ever advance enough in their history education to know that our country actually did not receive it’s political independence until 1783 after the American Revolutionary War ended and the Treaty of Paris was signed?

What about the droves of young and old earnestly waiving their U.S. flags high in the sky, do they actually realize that roughly 3,000 men died during the winter following that 1st 4th of July of 1776. As they were led by George Washington, it was a battle just trying to survive the harsh winter weather at Valley Forge and keep the British soldiers out of Philadelphia which would soon become the nations 1st capital city before Washington D.C. If you are within the sound of my voice or rather, the sight of these words and have forgotten or have never taken the time to care enough to remember such historic facts, than jump aboard the I.H.F.F.B., The Independence Holiday Fact Finding Bandwagon and never let your 3rd grader embarrass you again with all the facts that he is learning and you have forgotten!

Also, since, I am not only a proud Pittsburgher, I am  also a proud  Pennsylvanian, I can not conclude without mentioning what a “key” state Pennsylvania was in the formation of this nation thus giving Pennsylvania the nickname of Keystone State.  It was the second of the 13 original colonies to become a state preceded only by the state of Delaware. Furthermore, as I mentioned, Pennsylvania is the home of the nations first capital.  Thus, it is also the home of the First and Second Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution.  My son would be so proud of me and all of you right now! All kidding aside, we do need to do a better job of retaining key facts about the history of the state we live in and our country. History holds valuable lessons for our future generations to know that their freedoms came at the cost of many battles and sacrifices that are not to be taken for granted! If you did retain all of these facts from grade school, good for you because I had to brush up on a few. Discussing our history is a great way for our children to become more interested in the land that they call home. Don’t just leave it up to the schools to give history lessons to our children. What are some of the great facts surrounding your state’s history? Start digging. It would make a great summer or anytime project to do as a family!

As for this upcoming 4th of July, I don’t know about you, but I plan to have a good view with all the kids gathered close as we take in the awesome techno wonder displayed over our city skyline, and all the while I’ll be greatly encouraged by the flourishing growth and opportunity that continues to develop here in this country and around the globe never losing sight of how it all began. Thank you to all those who have served in the past and who continue to serve this country faithfully!

Happy Independence Day!

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