Thursday, July 2, 2015

Independence Day - Happy 4th of July!

Even though Independence Day wasn’t celebrated in America until after the War of 1812, it is still the single most important holiday in American history.  On July 4th, 1776, the United States claimed their Independence from England.  Foreign laws and powers would govern America no longer! The countries first great leaders established their own Democracy, a government by the people for the people.  The concept of social equality and individual rights was in place.  Once this happened, it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to take notice and soon stories of the ‘American Dream’ were spread across foreign lands (the rest of the world). 

It was said that America held true promise for those intent on creating their own destiny and carving a place for their fortunes.  Upon entering American waters, travelers on oversized ships would lay eyes on the Statue of Liberty… a long time symbol of freedom and gift from the country of France.  They would then take the ferry to Ellis Island where they would begin the long, grueling process of getting entry into the states.  From photographs of this time period we can see many people from many diverse cultures, each vying for a new life.

The document that gave immigrants these rights after gaining access to the Unites States was the Declaration of Independence.  This Government declaration was made to insure and secure rights of each person to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It also gave American citizens the right to change or abolish their government and replace it, if it become destructive, with one that insures their safety and happiness.  What this document was to the rights of the American people, so was the Constitution to the legal framework of the United States.  Established on September 17th, 1787, the Constitution established justice, insured domestic tranquility, provided for the common defense, promoted general welfare, and secured the Blessings of Liberty to everyone and their future generations.  These two documents together were the foundation of our nation.

We feel that it’s important to learn the history of our country.  We must not forget the hardships those who came before us experienced in order to gain the freedoms we sometimes take for granted.  Let's raise a flag, have a picnic, gather with friends and family, and when we hear the sound of fireworks as they light up the 4th of July night sky… we will remember that our happiness today is because of the men and women who were willing to give their lives in order for us to be free.

(Adapted from: Teacher Planet)

Long before there was a place called America, there was a garden called Eden. In this garden lived the first man and the first woman: Adam and Eve. They had very happy lives and freedom to do what they chose. There was only one rule: don't eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This tree was allowed to be in the garden to test their devotion to God, so that they could show that they chose to follow God and not Satan. However, Satan convinced Eve that her freedom was not being respected and she ate from the tree. Adam ate as well. When they did this, they were actually giving a big part of their freedom to Satan. They had now sinned against God and could no longer live in perfect Eden. But God provided a way to set them free. He came in the form of a human, many years later, and gave his life to break the chains of sin.

The Declaration of Independence brought America the freedom that it was seeking to be it's own country. They felt that they were not receiving the rights that they deserved, from England, to live happy lives. As people, we also need freedom. In this case it is freedom from a life that is a type of slavery to sin. Jesus can set us free from this to live happy and satisfied lives: lives that have real meaning and a real hope for something at the end. While governments can try to help us to have happy lives, God can also provide happiness in the life to come. When we accept Jesus' sacrifice of His life in place of ours, we are given the gift of eternal life. Talk about freedom! We are no longer slaves to eternal death. We have a promise of something bigger and greater than this life. 

Maybe you feel like you are a slave to sin. There are things in your life that keep you from God: alcohol, drugs, unhealthy relationships, or bad things that you do, even if you don't want to. The good news is that Jesus is the Declaration of Independence for all people! Because He paid our price for sin, we can accept this gift and be free from sin. He can help us to overcome any bad things in our life and live good, happy lives; here and in the one to come. 

Vocabulary words:

Claimed - (Past tense of claim) formally request or demand; say that one owns or has earned (something).

Foreign - of, from, in, or characteristic of a country or language other than one's own.

Govern - conduct the policy, actions, and affairs of (a state, organization, or people) with authority.

Intent - determined to do (something).

Destiny - the hidden power believed to control future events; fate.

Oversized - bigger than the usual size.

Grueling - extremely tiring and demanding.

Vying - (present particle of vie) compete eagerly with someone in order to do or achieve something.

Insure - secure or protect someone against (a possible contingency).

Secure - succeed in obtaining (something), especially with difficulty.

Pursuit of happiness - a fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you don't do anything illegal or violate the rights of others.

Abolished - formally put an end to (a system, practice, or institution).

Destructive - causing great and irreparable damage.

Established - set up on a firm or permanent basis.

Foundation - an underlying basis or principle.

Sin - an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

Eternal - lasting or existing forever; without end.

English Journal

What do you feel like you need independence from?
What makes your life happy?
What freedoms do you enjoy everyday?


English Resources: 

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