Boyack Christiansen - July 2020

Letter of the Law

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July 2020

The Spiritual Significance of the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is the time of year when people in the U.S. usually enjoy fireworks, parades, and town festivals. But for me, it is also a spiritual and grateful time. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve known how much our freedoms mean because I grew up hearing stories of our history. My dad served in the military for 28 years and worked as a high school history teacher. I grew up learning about the Revolutionary War and hearing about how hard the people and our Founding Fathers fought to get the rights we celebrate to this day. Many of the people who voted and signed the Declaration of Independence lost everything in the war and never recovered. The document itself states as much. While it mostly lists our rights and freedoms and talks about how much of a knucklehead King George III was, my favorite phrase is at the very end. The last sentence states, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” I think that’s such a fantastic sentence. It shows just how much they were willing to give — their lives, fortunes, and honor — in the pursuit of freedom. The fact that our Founding Fathers put everything on the line is what makes the Fourth of July so spiritually important to me. My family has also done everything we could to continue our Founding Fathers’ ideals. In addition to my dad serving in the military, both my grandfathers enlisted to fight for our country during World War II. When I came of age, I tried to enlist myself, but unfortunately, I was turned down because my hearing was bad. “It shows just how much they were willing to give — their lives, fortunes, and honor — in the pursuit of freedom.”

One of my favorite family stories involves one of my ancestors who came to America as a Hessian mercenary soldier to fight for the British army. Although he was paid to fight against the colonists, he defected and instead enlisted in the revolutionary cause. It all goes back to the idea of what we are willing to do for our freedom and for the freedom of our kids and grandkids. The Fourth of July reminds us how grateful we ought to be for the rights enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which the government can’t touch. In many places around the world, this is not the case. We function with limited government, while other countries function with limited citizenship. There, the government has all power. As I was growing up, the importance of our freedoms was instilled in me, both in and out of school. I always looked forward to the annual town festivals, parades, games, races, barbecues, and fireworks. But I never forgot what the Fourth of July truly represented. Even before I learned history in school, my dad instilled in me a love for our country and what our ancestors did to fight for our freedoms. My love for the Fourth of July is built on a lifetime of appreciation for what that holiday truly stands for. My grandfathers and father taught me the significance of our freedoms, and that’s something I will pass on to my own children and keep with me for the rest of my days.

–Travis Christiansen

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