07/04/2012 04:30 pm ET Updated Sep 03, 2012

True Independence

Happy Fourth of July - Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence. The Fourth of July is a holiday marking national independence, independence of the Thirteen Colonies from the British Empire.

Our national independence has been secured for a long time, at least as long as I've been alive. During my lifetime, the real struggle in America has not been for national independence, but rather for personal independence.

1941 was the year that saw the last great assault on America's national independence. Despite that, President Roosevelt chose in his 1941 State of the Union address to focus not on national independence, but instead on personal independence. This is what he said:

"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want -- which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear -- which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb."

If we ever see a time when we have "secure[d] to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants" -- freedom from want -- then as far as I'm concerned, from that day forward, every day will be a holiday. For sure, every day will be worth celebrating.


Alan Grayson