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I guess if the headline didn't give it away, tomorrow, we should all say "Happy Birthday America!"

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.

The 13 fledgling American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America and were no longer a part of the British Empire.

Yes, Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

And as we have all learned in civics class, "Independence Day is the National Day of the United States."

The traditional Fourth of July, this year, falls on a Thursday.

For most of the hard working Americans on the payrolls in non-government jobs, this holiday will not likely result as a day off some actually work harder on this date than other days in the year.

Postal workers and other U.S. Government offices, however, will be closed on the actual day - July 4th in observance of the holiday.

We will all, no doubt, celebrate in our own ways on July 4th. This holiday means many things to many people.

Some like parades.

Other families will hold picnics.

Some will put out the big Stars and Stripes to wave from the front of the house.

Others will gather family for reunions or hold big family dinners, barbecues and other events, feeling proud of the accomplishments of family in this country.

Many try to equate it to the military or the military might of the nation.

And some like to sit quietly and think about what America and being an American really means to them at this time, in this country, this state and this region.

That is not a bad reflection to find the time to sit down, be still and think on these things.

If ever there was a "take-away" from reading these musing, let it be this:

"Just what does being an American mean to you?"

It means more than political parties to me.

It means more than who is our President.

Or who may be our next President.

It means more than our military might.

And it means more -- yes more -- if I can see its compassion and humanity towards others.

The Fourth of July should, as we grow older, often bring a tear to the eyes. It happens whether it is at a kids baseball game when the tinny public address sound system plays that old worn out tape of the Star Spangled Banner.

Or do we shed a tear when we see that crippled Veteran out hobbling along at the grocery store with his service cap proudly perched on his aging, bald, head.

Sometimes I think we fail to see the infinite public infrastructure of our nation -- the interstate highways, the federal court buildings, the national parks and the many, many men and women of the agencies of the United States of America.

Yes, I am talking about the soldiers of our military, both in active and inactive service. But I am also talking about the men and women of the USPS, the USDA, the Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Forestry Dept., and thousands of other departments of our national government.

All these folks serve each of us in some capacity or another.

Our local public schools, universities and civic buildings and infrastructure would not be in place, perhaps, if not for an intervention from the United States of America.

The Fourth of July this year comes as many say our government has too much to do in our daily lives.

I'm not touching that question.

I am just asking you to contemplate on the 4th of July.

"Don't you love this country?"

I sure do.

And while that old country singer Lee Greenwood wasn't such a good singer.

I too, am today and every day, proud to be an American.

-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 07/03/2019

Print Headline: Happy Birthday America!

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