Trouble in Cedar Key: Independence Day

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By Gene Benedict

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary..." The Declaration of Independence was published in early July, seventeen hundred and seventy-six. That document listed the reasons the forefathers of the United States found it necessary to separate the original colonies from Great Britain. The grievances were many and critical, aimed primarily at King George, reigning monarch of Great Britain.

That document was not a declaration of war, it was a declaration of independence from Great Britain. It has been estimated that at the time, there were more Englishmen in the colonies than in England. It must have been a long, hard, well thought out decision to separate.

While it was not about war, it did cause the Revolutionary War. Every signer knew that they were declaring the colonies to be outside the law and therefore each was guilty of treason with the gravest punishment. They knew they were signing their own death warrants. Some historians think the original documents, as many as 24 copies, were actually signed days before, even though they bore the date of July fourth. It was thought that the signers would be safe at home or well on their way by that date, thus delaying their arrests.

Since then, the Fourth of July, now the most celebrated holiday in the United States, has become Independence Day. A few days from now we celebrate the day that changed history 232 years ago.

It is a holiday for nationalism, for flying the flag, the star-spangled banner, the stars and bars, for reds, whites and blues, for picnics, for parades and fireworks. And for us on the Cedar Keys, Clamerica heralds one of our claims to fame.

Independence Day is every day. We strive to live our lives in freedom. Several times since the Revolutionary War, our resolve has been tested. And, though at great cost to us as a nation of individual citizens, we remain independent.

Most of our tests have been offshore with foreign nations, military against military. Our borders are no longer sacrosanct. September eleven, two thousand one, communications were disrupted, the business community was shaken and unable to function effectively for weeks, assets were destroyed, thousands of people died, all in minutes during surprise simultaneous attacks using our own public airplanes.

This is a war on terrorism. It is on going. We must hold strong. We must continue to fight for our own independence, not just military against military, but people against people, the free against the terrorists. The battle is overseas and on the home front. Tyranny will not creep in. Terrorism will not cause erosion.

Independence Day is every day. This is our day to be involved, to persevere, to be free. Enjoy this Fourth of July.

I'll be right out there with you.

E-mail: tnckgebe@yahoo.com