iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Anne Woods

GET UPDATES FROM Anne Woods
 

Independence Day: Political or Military Celebration?

Posted: 07/03/2012 3:20 pm

This week we celebrate the 4th of July and in the heat of the summer, we will celebrate events across the country with fireworks, barbeques and other celebrations. Since I work for a nonprofit that supports wounded service members and military families, I become involved in events that thank our military members for their service -- just as they do for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

It is important to remember that Independence Day actually celebrates a moment in history that involved our government, not our military. For those rusty on their American history, on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to become independent from Great Britain. The wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4.

So why are military members thanked, honored and remembered on a day that has nothing to do with our military? The day is to remember a group of men, sitting in a building, debating the political future of a colony. It does not memorialize a battle victory at all. The Revolutionary War did not end until 1783.

So now I have to guess why people celebrate our military on this day and I have come down to two separate conclusions. First, the 4th of July is about patriotism and love of our country. No other single holiday represents the love we have of our country, flag and freedoms than this day. And many of us consider our military members a perfect example of patriotism. Although there are many reasons why men and women join the military, we believe that each one also has a sense of duty to their country due to their patriotism.

The second reason is that although July 4th celebrates a political decision, we have to assume that our Founding Fathers made this decision based on what they believed could be accomplished on the battle field. Shots had already been fired and the colonies were building up their military, ammunition and political allies. Our Founding Fathers voted for independence, knowing that there were men ready to go to battle for that independence.

Today's political leaders continue to make their decisions with this knowledge. Each United States president is able to enter into negotiations with the strength of our military behind his words. Sometimes this power is spoken, often times unspoken. From these decisions, our military members are given orders that they must follow. (Please remember that this November when you are deciding whether you have time to vote.)

So, have a great 4th of July everyone. Yes, we are celebrating a political moment in history. But that bold political move was made possible by our military.

 
FOLLOW IMPACT