Independence Day

A Bald Eagle nest near Jamestown Island, Virginia.

A Bald Eagle nest near Jamestown Island, Virginia.

Have you noticed that “Independence Day” has devolved into displays of shiny red, white, and blue Mylar decorations across much of our suburban landscape?

It is a time for car sales, summer vacations, huge picnics, and fireworks.

Please don’t misunderstand-  it is a great holiday!  I especially love watching fireworks on a summer sultry summer evening.

I’m just suggesting that it would be wise for us to contemplate the deeper meaning of “independence,” and what it means for us in 2014.


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What does “Independence” mean to us today? 

Just something to think about,  this weekend, as we put up our red, white, and blue bunting, hang our flags,  and prepare our picnic dinners.


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Here are a few thoughts from Americans who devoted their lives to building our nation.

They are words worth remembering, and perhaps offer an insight into where we go from here in our national journey towards our destiny as a free people.


“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.

For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


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“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.

Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

John F. Kennedy


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“America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision,

to realize an ideal – to discover and maintain liberty among men.”

Woodrow Wilson


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“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it.

You have to catch up with it yourself.”

Benjamin Franklin


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“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,

signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,

those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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“I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature

and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping,

and like the grave, cries, ‘Give, give.’ ”

Abigail Adams

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“You are not here merely to make a living.

You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply,

with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.

You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Woodrow Wilson

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“I hope we shall crush in its birth

the aristocracy of our monied corporations

which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength,

and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Thomas Jefferson

I hope that you will have that picnic with loved ones, and that you’ll enjoy the fireworks display on Saturday evening if not Friday.  
It is good to remember exactly what it is we celebrate each July. 


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Our nation was founded on ideals and principles.  We keep them alive as we contemplate them, and share them with those who share our journey.
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

7 responses to “Independence Day

  1. Great post. I, too, have been thinking about the basis of this holiday and many of the words of our forebears ring just as true today as when they were penned. I looked up Patrick Henry’s famous speech and have read some Jefferson and it is disturbing to think that we are still facing similar foes. “Give me liberty or give me death!” Strong words, but who wants to live without the freedom we hold so dear? Let us love & celebrate our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness this 4th!

    • Absolutely. I was surprised by the Jefferson quotation, which I don’t remember from previous reading (and I’ve read a lot of Jefferson, having spent a year at UVA) The same business and banking interests manipulating politics in the Enlightenment era are still at it today- only now they are international corporate interests. They have hijacked our Republic- Now that our “Supreme Court” continues to grant them “civil/Constitutional rights,” it is obvious that even worse abuses lie ahead.

  2. Some really great quotes here, WG. 🙂 And your eagle pics are perfectly cool,
    and totally fitting to match the day. I pray you’re okay, and not getting blown away
    by Arthur (a Brit joke for the 4th?). And, say…when will America learn how to
    make their own cheap fireworks? I think we can spare the gunpowder. Bullets are aplenty.

    Enrich each other. Good idea, Woodrow! (Love his name. We may be related.)
    Peace, luvz, and hugz to you and yours! Take care, and have good weekend! Keith

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Keith. Woodrow is a special hero to me, and his very talented wife, who served as president, quietly, as he was incapacitated. A Cat II hurricane on Independence Day weekend- the earliest ever recorded here- might serve to wake up some folks who don’t want to deal with global climate change. Interesting timing on this one, and Dutch clearly shows the “enhancement” to craft this one over the last 4 days on his site. Actually, I’m a little surprised a “Fireworks App” hasn’t been released so folks can just sit home and stare at their phones to enjoy their holiday fireworks, now that you mention it. Busch Gardens sets off fireworks every night in July down here- so we hear them each evening off in the distance. Very festive 😉

      Luvz, Piece, and Hugz to you and yours this weekend, Keith. We woke up to cool moist air- the first rain in over a week, and finally a hummingbird visiting the flowers on the deck. We are happy to have been spared any ill effect from the storm, and happy to see the damage along the Carolina Coast is all “fixable.” Thanks for stopping by the garden today 😉 E

  3. Very well written and meaningful. I live by a lake also, and have upon occasion, seen a bald eagle fly by. Hawks have raised families on both sides of my house, which allowed me to watch as they caught snakes and then fed them to their young. An unforgettable moment was when I was in the right place on the upstairs deck to watch a young hawk takes its’ first flight coming within feet of me. It is a wonderful country, if we as humans would accept without being so greedy, our priviledges.

    • What a beautiful privilege to live so closely with the hawks, and to see such moments as a young hawk’s first flight. It is a wonderful, beautiful country- and we have a sacred responsibility to preserve it and pass it on to our grandchildren in better shape than it was passed to us. The eagles give me hope. Best wishes, WG

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