While we are all excited about this weekend’s activities, we haven’t lost sight of the true focus of Independence Day, which marks the historic date in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress.
The Second Continental Congress, representing the original 13 colonies, voted to approve independence on July 2 and adopted the Declaration two days later. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were among those to sign this monumental document proclaiming that everyone has a right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Independence Day has always been intended to be a day of celebration as much or more than reflection. Even the earliest years honoring the celebration included fireworks and gun salutes. It is certainly a good day to feel gratitude for the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the freedoms they outlined and explained. We are extremely grateful for the men and women who have fought in the centuries since to protect those freedoms.
At our ceremony Saturday on the Eddy County Courthouse lawn, we will be honoring our World War II and Korean War era veterans. We expect to honor Ed Dunagan, Bill Fuson, Frank Romero, Newel Crouch, James Miller and Darrel Hjeltness. Many of the men who we honored during a similar ceremony last year are no longer with us, or are unable to attend this year. The need to fight to protect the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness has, unfortunately, not gone away in the 246 years since the signing of the Declaration. The differences that these brave men made through their efforts during World War II and during the conflict in Korea are still seen today. There’s no more clear difference in the world than there is in the difference between North Korea and South Korea, both in terms of quality of life and freedom.
These men fought to protect the ideals that are represented in the Declaration of Independence. We hope you and your family have a wonderful, safe Independence Day celebration. We hope your celebration includes enjoying the concerts we have at the bandshell on Sunday and Monday, the parade and boat parade, fireworks, barbecues and swimming. We also hope you will take a moment to appreciate how fortunate we are to live in a great community and a great country – and be thankful to those who envisioned and protected the freedoms that make this country so great.
Happy Independence Day.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway