Independence Day, Part 1
As an adult, I have struggled with Independence Day and appropriate expressions of patriotism. I am not ‘Anti-American’. I struggle with finding healthy, respectful ways of expressing a sense of national pride.
Independence Day is a misnomer. The Declaration of Independence signed on July 4th, 1776 by the Second Continental Congress. The Declaration functioned as a breakup letter from the colonies to King George III. The letter, in grand, polite style, summarized the grievances brought forth from the colonies and indicated that they would continue to fight for their independence from the British monarchy.
I paraphrase King George’s response, “So what.”
Independence would come at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1783. Between 25,000-75,000 American soldiers died in the war. The British reported 6046 deaths, but that does not count the 17,000 or so that died from disease and scurvy along the way.
As a pacifist, the War for American Independence and its antecedents set the stage for 244 years of more war. As a nation, as a people, we have glorified violence and turned into our national obsession. Historically, when we have run out of foreign enemies, we create domestic enemies. When we run out of domestic enemies, we create more foreign enemies.
I struggle to celebrate a love affair with violence. I struggle to revel in military victory and defeat knowing that so many perished to achieve so little.
My grandfather Arthur D. Krauss died in World War II. He contracted tuberculosis in the South Pacific. That is as much of his story that I know. No one would ever talk about it, but Arthur’s absence affected everyone of his survivors. Even now, seventy-four years after his death, his absence hurts.
If Arthur Krauss died for the right ideological reasons, then the ideology is wrong. No one should die for that. No family should hurt so much for that. Multiply that death and that pain times the number of wars, insurrections, battles, hostilities, skirmishes, clashes, conflicts, and aggressions and you get pain; an unending, unceasing pain that never goes away.
We should, we must be better than this.
I love you.
I need you.
I hope for you.
Please be safe.