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July 4th: An American celebration

By Erin Lale

Also called Independence Day, this is probably our most honest holiday. Celebrating our nation of freedom conceived in war, we celebrate by lighting off fireworks, which are basically mortar tracer rounds. Gunpowder charges. Liberty is celebrated with the tools used to achieve independence from tyrannical overlords. This holiday did not have to be changed from its origins with the passage of time in order to dovetail with the American spirit because it began in the American spirit. This is one holiday whose origins Americans fully embrace. On this day, we worship our flag by pledging allegiance to it. We sing our national anthem and honor a wise old man figure in Uncle Sam and an eternal feminine figure in Lady Liberty.

Lady Liberty is the colossal Statue of Liberty which was given to America by France. It was sculpted based on the ancient Roman goddess Libertas. Public statues of the time were often based on classical statuary, such as the statue of Justice with her scales for weighing the truth. In Rome, Libertas was the patron goddess of freed slaves, particularly gladiators who won their freedom in combat. Today, she has become the symbol of all types of liberty, political and artistic, and a uniting symbol of the people of the United States. People all over the world dress as Liberty, in the image of our colossus, when demonstrating for freedom.

Americans are not united by ethnic origins, race or religion but by our ideals. These ideals are symbolized by the Statue of Liberty and the Flag and spelled out in the Constitution. We are a proudly free people. Patriots don’t just salute the flag; patriots work to preserve and expand our freedoms. Patriots are found on the left, the right, the center and on axes of philosophy in which those terms are meaningless.

On this day, let us put aside what divides us. Let us not be a nation divided by party, by race, by religion, by income level, by orientation, by country of origin, by ability, by gender, by region or by any other group affiliation that puts a hyphen before American. Let us be Americans first, Americans together, one nation. Indivisible.

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