Another Independence Day has come and gone. The parades are over, the picnic baskets are put away and the firework displays are memories.
For the 236th time, we celebrated the anniversary of something amazing. For the first time in the history of the world, a group of people came together in 1776 and declared both their independence from a colonial power and their belief in a revolutionary idea. They would attempt something that had never been tried before, a new type of nation that didn't need a king, a dictator or an emperor. Alexander Hamilton summed it up this way: "Here, sir, the people govern."
So every Fourth of July we pause and celebrate the Spirit of '76. It is good that we do this, and that we teach our children to celebrate it as well.
But this year, let's try something different. Let's keep the Spirit of '76 going beyond July, and observe it all year.
Just what is the Spirit of '76, younger readers may wonder? It's more than a slogan or a historical catch phrase.
It was the revolutionary fervor that inspired Americans to look beyond their immediate circumstances and imagine what could be. It was the feeling that made patriots put their country's interests ahead of their own, even to the point where they willingly pledged "our lives, our fortunes and our scared honor." It was the belief that every one of us is entitled to the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Spirit of '76 was the belief that these rights were worth dying for and, just as important, are worth living for, too.
As we move further into the 21st Century, our country can use a fresh infusion of that revolutionary spirit. When we see a federal government that tries to bound small businesses and individuals with miles of red tape and regulations, we should remember what the Founding Fathers taught us: that government gets its powers from the consent of the governed, and not the other way around. When we see a broken Washington that does not respond to the will of the people, the Spirit of '76 should remind us what Jefferson wrote, that people have the right to "alter or abolish" their government as needed.
In short, the Spirit of '76 is the legacy handed down to us from the brave men who put their names on the Declaration of Independence. In order for that legacy to remain vital and fresh, we must exercise the freedoms we were given. We must pay close attention to what our government is doing, and be ready to hold our officials accountable for their actions. In order to maintain our "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," we must use our rights to free speech, free assemble, and the freedom to vote. Granite Staters have a deeply ingrained sense of civic responsibility, and I'm proud that New Hampshire serves as a positive role model for the rest of the country.
Let us not forget this: while the Founding Fathers enshrined these precious freedoms in the U.S. Constitution, they have been defended in the heat of battle by countless Americans over the years. From the "shot heard round the world" at Lexington and Concord to the battlefields of Afghanistan today, I have the freedom to write this, a newspaper has the freedom to publish it, and you have the freedom to read it all because of their selfless service. Our brave servicemen and women keep alive the legacy of the Minute Men who won the Revolutionary War and secured our freedom for centuries to come.
The Spirit of '76 inspired our ancestors to accomplish the impossible. Now it can inspire us to put our government back on the right track and mend a broken Washington, too.
I look forward to reporting back to you in two weeks on the latest developments in Washington. In the meantime, if I can be of service to you, or if you want to share your thoughts, suggestions or concerns with me, please call either my district office in Manchester at (603) 641-9536 or my Washington office at (202) 225-5456, or contact me through my website at www.Guinta.House.Gov. You can also follow what I'm doing 24/7 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repfrankguinta and on Twitter at @RepFrankGuinta.
Until next time, please know that I am always on your side and am actively fighting for New Hampshire's interests in Washington.