skyline will light up from festivities at the Starlight Bowl.
Freedom is ringing around town -- a legacy of which the Founding
Fathers would have been fond.
"It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows,
games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end
of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore,"
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail about independence, which the
Continental Congress secretly approved 12 to 0 on July 2, 1776,
cutting bands with Britain.
Between the barbecues, Fourth of July sales and the fireworks,
this weekend should be a time to reflect on this freedom we celebrate
-- the one Thomas Jefferson laid out in the Declaration Independence:
-- That all men are created equal ...
-- That governmental power flows from the consent of the people
-- That that power must be used to guarantee safety and happiness.
The Fourth is a day to celebrate these ideas. But in essence, they
should be in action every day -- when a young student is enlightened
in the classroom; when a speaker gives input on an issue at a City
Council meeting; when a suspect in an arrest exercises rights to due
process; when the Peace Vigil critiques the war in Iraq each Friday;
when a person opens a business; when a journalist questions a city
official; when we vote.
So much sacrifice has been made for this freedom, and Americans
continue to die for it. We are free, but it's a fragile balance that
takes responsibility and discipline, as one man knew well.
"We know through painful experience that freedom is never
voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the
oppressed," The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in 1963 in his
Letter from Birmingham Jail.