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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Independence

We all have things that bother us in one way or another. Some might say that as The Meanest Woman in the World I have all sorts of things that irritate me. I prefer to say that there are many things to which I react passionately. Then, of course, we all have things that maybe don't get us all riled up, but just sort of make us cringe. Two nights ago, our friend Thayne posted something on a social network that really made me chuckle. It was a picture of several sheep that had been sheared to look like poodles in the show ring. As someone who had a poodle who never had a show ring hairstyle, I found it pretty funny. I wanted to share it on the two social networks I use, but the person who created the caption on the photo spelled one of the words incorrectly. I won't lie; I really struggled. It was funny, but in the end I just couldn't make myself share it. If I shared something with a spelling error, it would be as if I had spelled incorrectly. A friend shared it on another network the following evening, and commented that she was waiting for someone to mention the spelling error. I had to confess that I had been unable to share it myself for that very reason. It may seem silly to you, but apparently I have a spelling version of OCD.

Because it is early July, I am again dealing with one of my pet peeves. In two days it will be the anniversary of the official date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I have seen, as is usual around any holiday, numerous advertisements about sales. Almost all of them say something about "Fourth of July sale," or buying something for your "Fourth of July celebration." Okay, I'm going to say it. It bothers me. We are talking about an event unlike anything that had ever occurred in recorded history. An incredibly brave group of men committed high treason against their King. They were representing a group of colonies that were already engaged in a war to become free of what was considered a tyrannical reign from across the ocean. The Continental Congress sought to declare their reasons for rebellion, and why they felt that they had the right to form their own nation. Because it was something so monumental, they agreed that if there was even one colony that was against this action, it would be abandoned. After much argument and some concessions, the wording was agreed upon, and all of the members signed the Declaration of Independence.  We in the USA celebrate this date as the birth date of our nation. 

These facts and others, combined with my family's own history, are what make what we call this holiday a pet peeve of mine. After a failed Revolution in Hungary, my family walked out of their home country under cover of darkness. They did this to escape execution of the entire family, and they did this to seek freedom. Perhaps the fact that I was born here after such brave steps were taken by my family makes me look at things in a different way. I am a child of revolution. My pro-revolutionary father's last child was born in a country formed by revolution.

No, I don't get mad if someone wishes me a Happy Fourth. I used to call it that, too. Now that I know more about both my country and my family, I really like to call it Independence Day. I like to hear others call it Independence Day, too. I think it is important enough to honor the date by calling it by that name. If anyone asks me why, I'll tell mention a few other holidays. Do we say, "Happy December twenty-fifth?" or "Happy October thirty-first?" And I think most Veterans would shudder if we started to say, "Happy November eleventh," or "Happy Last Monday in May." If they ask, I will remind them of the brave men and women who have gone before us in history, the ones from more than two hundred years ago, and the ones in our own families. I will remind them of bravery and sacrifice and freedom. And the beautiful document, the Declaration of Independence, that helped start it all.

Happy Independence Day!