When I was a kid one of the mind games we’d play on folks was to ask if they have the 4th of July in England or Canada or Japan. A lot of people would fall for it and say, “No.” Of course, the answer is that the 4th of July happens in every country and every year—not just the US.
But NO ONE ELSE has the celebration of the 4th of July like we do. NO ONE ELSE can claim the day as the birthday of their nation. NO ONE ELSE can call it by its rightful name: Independence Day. Only the United States of America can do this.
It’s hard for us to imagine (and easy to forget) that over that weekend, in the hot summer of 1776, a small group of patriots acted on their love of country and passion for liberty, affixing their signatures to what could well have been their death warrant: the Declaration of Independence. Risking literally everything they had as well as their lives, they proclaimed that these United States are and ought to be an independent nation, that we should no longer be ruled by a tyrant thousands of miles away, that men, by reason of their Creator’s design, had rights that NO ONE can take from them, and that the sole purpose of government was to protect these rights.
These were great men with great courage and great vision. They believed, as I do, that America was and still is a “city set on a hill, a shining example of what can and should be, a beacon of freedom” for others to follow and to imitate. Our country is far from perfect. We certainly have our share of problems and failures. But America is a country like no other—exceptional in every way; from her founding to her present, America is different, special, destined to do good in the world.
This weekend, take the time to reflect on what it means to be an American. Read the Declaration of Independence. Don’t let anyone tell you that America is just “another nation among nations” because it simply isn’t true.