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Stefanides
Stefanides
Alex Sousa, left, and Jacob Sousa enjoy the Mackle Park water feature. / Steve Stefanides/Sun Times

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Recently when I was at Mackle Park I was amazed at the level of summer activities by all of the young people on the island. They were attending classes, playing in the game room and two young boys were playing outside in the spray park under the watchful eye of their grandmother.

As Iíve sat here and thought about the Straight Talk column for this week, my mind drifted back to the carefree nature of the boys playing and all those activities within the park. I thought about how that related to actions of the Constitutional Congress 238 years ago and what we will celebrate on Friday as Independence Day or July Fourth.

The Constitutional Congress had actually voted secretly on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was finally published on July 4 and the first public reading of the document was held on July 8. It was the first step in the creation of what we know today as the United States of America.

We would later see the creation of the Bill of Rights, as written by James Madison, that guaranteed the constitutional protection for individual rights. Other precursors to the Bill of Rights included English documents such as the Magna Carta, among others.

Seeing these boys play freely in a nation that had its origins in the eyes of visionaries from the 13 original states 238 years ago is kind of mind-boggling. To think ordinary men had a vision for a nation and system of governance that would endure all these years, through all the challenges placed before it, is a simply amazing task when one takes time to think about it.

Those two boys and the freedoms and opportunities they have been afforded started as a dream for a better life for those who literally signed their death warrants by affixing their signatures to a document that is today revered around the world.

The solemn legacy of our founders is often pushed aside by our desire to enjoy but another holiday, when we should instead take a moment to reflect on the wonder of their commitment to putting into motion an incredible series of events that would lead to the people we are today.

Americans should remember as they celebrate July Fourth that it is also called Independence Day for a reason. It should not be lost during the barbecues, fireworks celebrations, concerts, and parades that this holiday was established to reflect on the meaning of freedom and personal rights.

As an individual, I see those two young boys playing at the spray park as part of that wonderful legacy of those 56 patriots who signed their lives away so we might stand here today and bask in the warmth of independence and freedom.

I can only hope that we continue to revisit the meaning of America for all generations and celebrate the glorious gift that was given to us 238 years ago by men of great vision and courage.

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