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Our View: The American dream is still real

The Signal Editorial Board

Posted: July 3, 2010 7:15 p.m.
Updated: July 4, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Today, some 25,000 people will line the streets of Newhall for our community’s 78th Independence Day parade — a red, white and blue cavalcade of about 3,000 participants that has been held since 1932.

For some, July 4 may be the highlight of a long weekend — a day to wave colorful flags, grill juicy burgers and quaff cold beer.

In reality, it’s a big, fat celebratory punctuation mark on the Declaration of Independence that was adopted 234 years ago today by the Second Continental Congress. That 1,300-word document definitively told Great Britain we were cutting ties and striking out on our own as a nation.

Laying out the case for declaring the colonies to be an independent nation, the Declaration of Independence closed with these words: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour.”

So far, so good.

Founded in rebellion, we as a nation have grown with a wild, pioneer spirit — exploring and populating our country from coast to coast and being tirelessly innovative.

We’ve moved mountains to build roads, drilled oil wells to fuel progress and put men on the moon.

Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession through which we are still struggling; despite the staggering national debt; despite widespread unemployment; despite the mortgage crisis — this is still one of the greatest nations on the planet.

More than two centuries on, men and women still fix their eyes on America as a place to make a better life.

These shores still hold promise and potential.

But our shining potential has not been achieved without sacrifice.

Declaring our freedom from England came at the cost of bloodshed. The Civil War pitted a nation against itself. Scores died in the trenches of World War I and the battlefields of World War II. Thousands of American troops died in North Korea and the jungles of Vietnam.

Still more have died over the past decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Santa Clarita Valley has lost several of its sons to warring in the Middle East.

In some of those conflicts, the reasons for our fighting were clear-cut — preserving a free world at any cost. Our present military action targets an ideological enemy dead-set on destroying America as we know it.

Read enough headlines and you can get downright depressed. Between war, oil spills, partisan politics, climate change, debt and joblessness — sometimes it all seems like too much to bear.

But we are still here. We, the people of America, have the chance every day to pursue greatness — both individually and collectively.

We salute all our military veterans who, over the past 234 years, thought less of themselves and more of duty, honor and country — many making the ultimate sacrifice for our futures.

We thank the American innovators who were not afraid to fail in the pursuit of success.

We charge the future generations to take to heart the potential they have to preserve this as a great nation.

By all means, celebrate today. But don’t forget what — or why — you’re celebrating.

Happy Fourth of July.

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