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Independence Day: Freedom is never free

While Antifa and other dissenting groups get all the headlines, let us not forget the individuals that made it possible for these thugs, criminals to riot, destroy property, and ruin lives all in the name of the First Amendment.

Do you think any of these miscreants give a moment’s thought as to where their rights to assemble, albeit supposedly peaceably, and protest come from? Do you think they even know? I doubt it!

Well, let us take a moment to educate them. Independence Day, also known incorrectly as The Fourth of July as the fourth day of July would have no particular significance without the events that transpired 244 years ago, is a celebration of the birth of American independence.

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. Two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the “Declaration of Independence” drafted by Thomas Jefferson, stating the principles on which our government and our identity as Americans are based.

Even though on July 2nd, the vote for independence was taken, it was July 4th when the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted that became a day for leisure activities, family gatherings, recently involving fireworks and barbecues.

John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival” and that the celebration should include “pomp and parade, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.” It didn’t quite work out that way but a celebration commenced all the same on the 4th.

Regardless of what your plans are this Independence Day, make sure you take time to remember what the holiday is really about. It’s easy to take liberty for granted, to forget just how difficult it was to gain our freedoms and how easily they can be lost. Those men risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to win for us the privilege to lounge about eating and drinking our favorite summer foods and beverages.

We learn little in school about the sacrifices of the Revolutionary War patriots and I believe that is by design to diminish our devotion to our founding principles. Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? What fates befell them for daring to put their names to that document, for signing their own death warrant?

Five signers were captured by the British. Many had their homes and businesses occupied, ransacked, looted, vandalized and burned by the British. Two lost sons serving in the Revolutionary Army. Nine died during the Revolution.

George Washington spent eight years away from home, much of it in deplorable conditions, commanding the Continental Army. These men were lawyers, merchants, large plantation owners; well educated men of means and many were bankrupt after the war.

So, please enjoy your Independence Day holiday but also take a few minutes to thank these men long gone. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid to give us this country. Don’t let the malcontents and the media fool you. Just being born in America, you have hit the super-lotto of life. Remember: Freedom is never free and must be continuously appreciated and defended.

Jack Loesch is an area resident and Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Akron for the past 27 years whose columns appear periodically in the Salem News.

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