Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans! May God grant us the wisdom to cherish and preserve what our Founders gave us.
The Collect for Independence Day.
O ETERNAL God, through whose mighty power our fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Our Country
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
— from The Book of Common Prayer 1928.
Today is the “Fourth of July,” America’s Independence Day, when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, which was enacted (actually on the 2nd of July) by the Continental Congress in 1776. While as a Royalist and Anglophile, I have some regrets about this, as an American I am grateful for it, and deeply respect our Founders and those who have fought for our freedom in the years, decades, and centuries since.
And in light of some of the things that have been going on in Britain in recent years – mass immigration of alien peoples with alien creeds, a BREXIT that so far has gone nowhere, and an increasing stripping of the “rights of Englishmen” for which we Colonials were originally contending from the people of Britain itself – I find myself increasingly glad that we are not part of that. We have our own problems to deal with, without a doubt (and mass alien immigration is one of them, as is the existence of many who would strip us of our rights if the Constitution allowed, and/or who seek to find ways to circumvent the Constitution), but at least we are free from the specific problems that England, and the rest of Britain, are facing.
So it is a joy to celebrate our independence on this day, and today was a very good celebration of Independence Day for me, personally. I spent it in Gettysburg, in good company – with dear friends of mine – doing a good thing: living history. We were interpreting the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry “Rough Riders,” of the Spanish-American War: the war which not only helped to bring the U.S. back together after the horribly divisive War Between the States (the “Civil War,” so-called), but also established us as a world power. It was a real pleasure to be educating people about this little-known and almost forgotten, yet extremely consequential, conflict, and we had the opportunity to talk to quite a few very interesting people in the process!
It was intensely hot and muggy: rather reminiscent, in fact, of the conditions in Cuba, 120 years ago, when the Rough Riders, led by then-Lt. Col. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, participated in the assault on San Juan Heights outside Santiago, and then the attack on Santiago itself, to liberate the island from the Spanish. One can argue whether we should have been doing that, as one can argue many events in history; but there is no question that that war transformed the United States, effectively overnight, from an agricultural backwater to a world power. Interpreting one of the most famous episodes in that conflict was good way to spend the Fourth of July, heat, humidity, and bugs notwithstanding! Although I confess that it feels good to be clean, and in air conditioning, now. And bed will feel good, as well!