This year marks the 59th July 4th celebration in my life. My first memories where watching fireworks being launched over the Fort Worth skyline some 12 miles from our ranch house. I remember the bicentennial celebration at Hampton Roads overlooking the Norfolk Naval Base. My children and I camped out overnight for the Boston Pops on numerous occasions. I have taken part in a July 4th turnaround of the USS Constitution.
Perhaps the hardest July 4th was as a midshipman, on a cruise across the Pacific Ocean in 1971. We celebrated by shooting signal flares into the sky that evening. We only had red and white flares.
And for those celebrations in our backyard, friends and family will state that I always manage to read the Declaration of Independence, including the year that I substituted Governor Michael Dukakis’ name for King George as I read the Declaration’s list of complaints.
But this year is different. Even as we prepare to celebrate our Independence Day with numerous parades and a large backyard feast, I realize that we have never been more dependent on government.
You see, when the courts interpret the “living” constitution; when the President decides not to enforce “some” laws; when the Senate refuses to submit a budget; and when the House drafts legislation which goes beyond the edicts of “limited” government; when voting laws are ignored; we are not free, we are dependent on the whim of government.
We are not free when we must be told what a law means. We are not free when the happiness of one person is transferred to another. We are not free when our Executive branch wants to transfer our sovereignty to an unelected international body. We are not free when there are so many rules and regulations that we are in constant violation of the law. We are not free when we allow our government to bankrupt this nation, forever limiting opportunity for our children, their children and future generations.
We are in trouble and only we can fix it. It is time to shed the labels of party, of race, of sex, of religion, of life style and on this Independence Day — simply read the Declaration of Independence as an American. And then take a moment as an American to pledge life, fortune and honor in support of the truths found in the Declaration; that this Nation is conceived in liberty, that all men are created equal and that we are entitled to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Friends, it is time to get involved. We owe it to our children and grandchildren. They deserve the same freedoms and opportunities we have enjoyed. Happy July 4th.