Don’t forget this one important thing on this Independence Day
Light up the charcoal, throw on your swim trunks, crack a cold brew or seltzer. Maybe even set up those bottle rockets if you’re below the legal limit. It’s Independence Day—enjoy it.
Is it cliche to request that you also take a moment to remember what Independence Day is all about? To ask you to see this July Fourth through the eyes of a veteran?
I hope not, because that’s what I humbly ask of you.
The Fourth of July ostensibly represents America’s founding. As most know, July fourth, 1776, is the date that our Founding Fathers formally adopted the Declaration of Independence. It’s thought that the holiday took on a renewed importance in July of 1826, when both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams passed away on the same day—the 4th.
Over the years, Independence Day has become synonymous with the American Armed Forces. Active duty military, veterans, and their families understand the true cost of freedom. They understand that independence is far more than a word. It’s a sacrifice.
This July Fourth, more than any year in recent memory, warrants a deep consideration of our freedoms. In particular, you might consider just how fleeting those freedoms can be, and the moments throughout history during which they could have been lost.
Throughout our nation’s history, what has stood between imperious tyrants and our precious American way of life? Our veterans. Today, what protects you, me, and our nation’s delicate future from threats domestic and foreign? Active members of the Armed Forces.
Those who never served cannot fully appreciate the sacrifices of military service. That’s okay—you don’t need to. Those who signed up did so in order that you wouldn’t have to understand. All I ask is that, on this July fourth, you honor those who took the oath.
In 1917. In 1941. In 1950. In 1965. In 1990. In 2001. And in every year before, in between, and since, all the way back to 1776. Every single veteran and active military member deserves our consideration and appreciation.
As you sip that Stella or Sprite, watch the fireworks explode in resplendent fashion, and lap up a day of leisure, remember why you’re celebrating. Tip a cap or pour one out for all those who made, and continue to make, the celebration possible.
At least 645,596 veterans have died in combat since the end of the Revolutionary War. Countless more veterans have lived bearing the visible and invisible wounds of war.
And, while our nation’s most high-profile conflicts have simmered down, for now, American active-duty military personnel continue to face great danger throughout the world.
On Independence Day, I ask that you honor these living and deceased members of the Armed Forces as you see fit.
Talk to your kids about it. Reserve a moment of silence. Heck, have an extra hot dog or burger for those who took the Oath of Enlistment.
Pay tribute in your own way. And, by golly, make the most of the day. The honorable men and women in uniform demand nothing less.
About Steve Masterson
Steve Masterson is an Air Force veteran, and founder of Waste Masters Solutions. Waste Masters supports large companies, entrepreneurs, and small businesses by mitigating waste in its many forms—from recycling to industrial waste minimization. Steve and his team will be saluting the Armed Forces this Independence Day.