The Corner

What July 4 Means to Us (II)

Cliff May: July 4 celebrates the birth of the United States and the modern democratic experiment. In the 20th century, both were threatened by Nazis and Communists. In the 21st century both are threatened by Islamists and Jihadists. Now, as then, America and the democratic experiment will survive — if Americans are willing to do what is necessary to defend them.

Michael Graham: In 1776, Massachusetts native son John Adams declared that Independence Day “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 forever more.” If John Adams were to return to Massachusetts today to lead such a parade, he would find that the sale and possession of fireworks is now against the law in the Bay State; that he needed the permission of a local, unelected government employee in order to get a gun license; that outdoor fires are illegal unless they’re expressly for the purpose of preparing food; and that “games and sports” such as tag, dodge ball, and all “unauthorized chasing games” are currently prohibited by many Bay State public schools. He would also find himself under government order to buy health insurance for himself and Abigail, or face stiff penalties from the state. What does the 4th of July mean to me? It’s a reminder that America needs another Fourth of July.

Checker Finn: July 4 makes me think of our three little granddaughters and the opportunities, and freedoms afforded to them and millions of other kids by virtue of living in this land of opportunity and freedom. It also makes me think of the thousands of immigrant kids in super-star public high schools I’ve been visiting, youngsters whose parents have found on these shores avenues of mobility and opportunity unavailable in their native lands.

Jon David Kahn: The place was quiet which I thought unusual for this type of store. I sat down, and reached for the closest guitar. I hit a chord; it rang rich, and true . . . almost out of character, like an underdog that didn’t know it was underdog. A voice behind me: “Not the best guitar in the shop, but God did something to the tree that made the wood for that one.” I said “I’ll take it.”

Whenever I pick up that guitar, I remember those words. Because in that wood touched by God, there is infinite possibility: There is Freedom . . . and that’s America.

Alex Castellanos: In the history of man, there is only one heroic story, the accounting of our inexorable journey from slavery to freedom, and our struggle never to regress to less. My parents gave up everything they had and left Castro‘s Cuba with one suitcase, eleven dollars, and the clothes on their backs, so my sister and I could live in freedom in the greatest country on earth. July 4 is freedom‘s birthday. We should celebrate it as long as freedom lives anywhere in the world.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


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