The 4th of July is when Americans celebrate our independence and remember the core tenets of our republic:

– Dedication to the truths that that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;

– Forming a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity;

– Re-dedicating ourselves to the proposition that ALL men are created equal;

– Continuing to work on being the one place on earth where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I sincerely hope that nobody thinks we have achieved all of this. Indeed, it probably isn’t humanly possible to fully achieve all of this. That is why we must remember and re-dedicate ourselves to what we as one nation, united, strive to achieve, what we all strive to be. It is the vision of us at our best.

It is the reason why so many other people around the world look to us with hope. This weekend, we should contemplate these words, from one hundred and fifty eight years ago:

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.

July 4th, Independence Day, is the day we do–or at least we SHOULD–remember all of this, re-dedicate ourselves to the never-ending work of striving towards all of this, celebrate what we have achieved, contemplate what we have left to do.

Then go off, eat BBQ (if you want to), drink beer (if you want to), and shoot off fireworks (if you want to).