I don't know where the time has gone, but here we are in July, ready to celebrate the 4th once again! There will be picnics and bbqs and beer and flags and cakes with red and blue berries. A relaxed long weekend for most.
The story of our American Independence generally stops with our declaration of independence from Britian in 1776. But truly, that was just the beginning. It's one thing to declare; it's another to commit for the long haul, to make it work, to keep the dream alive and make it a reality.
And so, the fight continued, actually until 1783 with the Treaty of Paris, signed by the new nation and the Brits. The United States took possession of practically all the territory east of the Mississippi river and south of the Great Lake, and set up a representative government from the areas. There was much debate about a strong central government v. states rights. The strong central idea won out and the Articles of the Confederation with all the details was ratified in 1781.
General Washington could not know that the Brits would not reopen hostilities! And, the French had departed, so the new country was on its own. The treasury was empty and unpaid soldiers were angry. With a coup d'état almost taking place, the Congress promised a five year bonus for all officers to keep from "abandoning the ship", so to speak. The war ended in 1783, with a period of prosperity, and peace across the globe. The national government still operated under the Articles, until the Constitution was put into effect in 1789.
As they say, "nothing good comes easily", or "all good things come to those who wait", and so with the USA.
Let's hope that we never take for granted the glorious idea, the hard fight for, and the precious guardianship it takes to keep our freedom alive. And let us not wave our flags this 4th as pretty, festive decoration, but as the treasured symbol that it truly is!