The Fourth of July, more appropriately known as Independence Day, has endured the same kind of secular humanist transformation over the years and decades as the rest of our holidays.
So many of us in society have taken to "celebrating" it in ways that have little or nothing to do with its original significance or meaning.
While we all love the open-grill, summer cuisine as well as the many (professional and amateur) fireworks displays, too few of us fully appreciate why we adorn ourselves and our homes with so much red, white, and blue decor on the fourth day past the calendar midpoint.
The day marks the single most important turning point not only for America but also in world history.
On July 4, 1776, the most audacious revolt against an unjust ruling class was put in writing – after more than a year of open warfare had already been waged. Most of the signatures which appear on it were affixed on that date, with the final signings done by August 2.
In all, 56 men would "mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." And it is to these words we should pay extra attention. Most of these duly appointed delegates to the Continental Congress would lose their fortunes and their lives as a result of drawing the particular scorn of King George III for their role in approving this document.
Knowing full well they would be targeted by British authorities for their roles in boldly setting the American Revolution in stone, those individuals who shaped, voted for, and signed the Declaration of Independence had grasped and embraced one vital, unifying truth.
America's Revolutionaries understood there are certain principles and ideals so important, so indispensable, they are worth dying for.
What ideals and principles do you hold so dearly?