America’s birthday.

It seems to roll around faster and faster. But, that could be me thinking that time is passing by much quicker. 2018 was a blur; now we’re halfway through another year.

As our country’s birthday is upon us, many thoughts go through one’s mind. I’m sure that’s the same reality for many. The world seems to have shifted on its axis the past few years. No one is sure what lies ahead. Of course, we never did know.

However, there were things we took for granted that no longer look the same. Perhaps our norm was always an illusion and now we’re being tested in ways we never imagined.

In doing a little historical review, I was reminded that July 2, 1776, was the date the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the delegates of the 13 colonies two days later; thus, July 4 became the date we have celebrated for more than two centuries.

John Adams never really accepted the latter date, believing the date that mattered was the 2nd. In a strange twist of fate, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

As towns and cities prepare for the various celebrations, it is a time of reflection for me. Parades, fireworks, music, and other celebrations will dot the country’s landscape. I ask myself if we have become too far removed from the history of that time.

I recently listened to a great book, “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot Against George Washington.” It was a reminder about that pivotal time in our history and the revolution that started us down this path of a fragile democratic republic.

Only recently have we been forced to come face to face with the limitations of the country we thought was the world’s beacon of decency, humanity and peace. We are facing the true fragility of power that ancient societies that were once thought invincible also faced – and failed.

We’ve all seen a lot in our lifetime. A lot has happened for many lifetimes since the founding of this country. Civil war, world wars, poverty, prosperity, landing on the moon, harnessing energy and a country spanning a land area those early visionaries could not possibly fathom.

Who knew we would be the country detaining children in camps with no basic sanitary conditions? Who knew we would be at odds with our fellow citizens and neighbors about basic facts? Who knew that the famous phrase by FDR would be so relevant today – “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” when we seem to be a country gripped by fear and distrust.

I hope as this anniversary of our country’s birth approaches, we think about what was and what can and should be. Maybe the possible that was envisioned by our founders needs to be re-visited.

Happy Birthday, America.

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