A day worth celebrating

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, July 2, 2020

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From the time the “shot was heard around the world” in April of 1775 when American colonists first clashed with the British Army at Lexington and Concord, until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in September of 1783 that officially drew the curtain on the Revolutionary War, blood was shed and lives were lost in our nation’s quest for freedom.

Sadly, even as we prepare today to celebrate the 244th birthday of the United States of America, there remains a battle within….a fight to ensure that each and every American citizen – no matter their race, religion, gender, or sexual preference – enjoys the full and unfettered meaning of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that it still took 99 years after slavery was abolished in 1865 for the Civil Rights Act to become the law of the land. And even with the approval of that landmark legislation in 1964, systemic racism still rears its ugly head in 2020.

We cannot ignore the fact that it took until June of this year for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the Title VII section of the Civil Rights Act does indeed forbid job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status.

Yes, the fight for total equality among ALL American citizens remains real today.

That’s why this coming Saturday’s celebration of our nation’s independence may be the most important one we have ever observed. We are hopeful that those who have looked at the Fourth of July holiday as a mirage of freedom will finally feel that it’s truly a day worth celebrating.

It’s our hope that everyone will take a seat at the same table of freedom and realize that individual liberty takes precedence.

This table is filled with the rarest delicacies (freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to assemble, a fair trial by one’s peers) and the sweetest treats (voting for the candidate of your choice, the ability to pursue your dreams and make your own place in society) – yours to enjoy, savor or reject, as you see fit.

It’s our hope that ALL Americans feel welcomed to pull up a seat to this bountiful table to enjoy the fruit of this great land now, a table not just for the elite, and not just for the members of certain ethnic distinctions.

Major changes in this nation’s history always lean towards greater freedom and more liberty, which may be viewed suspiciously by those who find change difficult to accept, but which makes our nation stronger because we are all participants and because we all have a real stake in ensuring the success of this grand experiment known as Democracy.

As we celebrate our independence on Saturday, we’re hopeful that the most famous line from our Declaration of Independence is not viewed as hollow words…that indeed, “all men [people] are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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