The date is July 4, 1776, and the setting is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the room are 56 delegates from the thirteen colonies. The men chatter away unsure if they are about to make the right decision. Their act is considered treason, an act punishable by death. They are men of various trades, farmers, merchants, lawyers, and jurists, all gathered together about to make and change history forever. These men are about to sign the Declaration of Independence, a declaration that would make the thirteen colonies independent of British rule. These men had just made a decision that was about to change the world as they knew it forever. The war was still far from over, these men had a government and a society to build in the aftermath of the war but their struggle was managing to stay alive through the war.
Yearly we celebrate the 4th of July often forgetting the men and women who helped build and grow our society into what we know it as today. The 4th of July is a date that shall ever be memorialized as the date we gained freedom from British rule and was the start building of global power.
America was not formally recognized as a global power until our involvement with the Spanish American War of 1898 and with the conclusion of World War I on November 11, 1918. With the conclusion of World War II on September 2, 1945, the United States was recognized as a superpower, key in making decisions and forever an example of what a small group of colonies can achieve over centuries of American pride.
Today our nation faces racial tensions, protests, and of course coronavirus. When the coronavirus hit it, unfortunately, prevented me from visiting my favorite World War II veteran and grandfather figure and inspiration John Rembish. Throughout my life, John and his family have essentially become a part of my own family. John was one of many in his generation who quit high school in order to help support his family during the Great Depression. He went on to serve in World War II at the Allied Invasions of Anzio, France, and Germany. Later he married and moved to Kenilworth where he raised four sons and coached little league. A simple man who lived a simple life who never asked for recognition.
Men like those who served in the armed services or contributed to our country on the homefront or overseas should serve as examples to us today. At a time when our nation is an uproar, this 4th of July may be a little different. Family get-togethers may have been postponed, fireworks may not glow as bright, but it should also allow us to reflect on what it has taken to get us here and where we are heading. As Johnny Cash once said in his song Ragged Old Flag, “She’s (the U.S. flag) been through the fire before, and I believe she can take a whole lot more.”