History has always fascinated me and the story of our own country bears remembering, if only for a few, brief moments during our Independence holiday. America’s storied past is something of inspiration and the reason I am even here with the freedom to share an opinion.
I like to re-read the Declaration of Independence every couple of years, and on this day, something different caught my eye. It wasn’t the courage it took to stand up and fight for what we term our “unalienable rights”, or the conviction to prove that we as a young nation could stand and even flourish on our own. No, what made me think twice was the following quote:
“…and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
How true those words ring. Often times, we as humans, suffer thru abysmal conditions, because we tell ourselves that what we face is tolerable. But the Declaration gave us another right, the right to pursue happiness. We, as a country, have freedoms given to us by our forefathers that ensured our right to make choices that would make us happy, not to suffer at the hand of another. Perhaps Shakespeare said it best:
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?”
Our forefathers, in their imperfect wisdom, knew that their young country, in order to flourish and guarantee that the same oppressive government not take hold in American soil, needed to establish a government that allowed for the people to decide how they wanted to live. Not one that told us how we should “be.” Sadly, over the years, we have forgotten what rights our founders established, both in government and in our personal life. At times, we allow ourselves to suffer, to lead our lives in a manner that doesn’t benefit us.
This is by no means my personal soap box, but more a statement of self-truth. I myself have stayed in situations that are barely tolerable because it’s easier, and in doing so, have forgotten what my forefathers fought for and laid their lives down for and what our servicemen and women continually do today. They fight for America and its people to have basic freedoms and use our self-will to use our freedoms wisely.
Instead, this is a call to arms, so to speak. To appreciate living in a country where I can be me and to say thank you for the men and women that have fought, fight now and continue to fight and not disgrace their lives by ignoring the very freedoms they fight for. It may not be perfect, and we may still be a long way off from equality for all, but we live in a country where we can “take up arms” and not suffer silently. So to our Armed Forces, past and present, I say thank you for continually fighting to protect my freedom to just be what I want to be.