Brady: Reflections of a citizen

Published 2:00 pm Friday, July 5, 2019

Hal Brady
Owner and operator of a Christian ministry in Decatur

So often we Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas, homemade ice cream and family get togethers. We hear speeches or read articles with some mention of liberty, justice and the American way.

I remember one Fourth of July when, as the pastor of a local church, I was in a milking contest with a state senator on the streets of Carrollton, Georgia. Incidentally, I won that contest because the cow kicked over the senator’s bucket.

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Adding to our Fourth of July observance, in the evening, we usually attend some sort of fireworks display in our celebration of Independence Day.

But there is more to the Fourth of July and the celebration of citizenship than eating and playing and noise.

Citizens who take their faith and country seriously should be encouraged to think deeply about the meaning of freedom.

To begin with, freedom is not a once-and-for-enterprise. It is a slowly evolving process. For sure, it is not always discernible and not always achieved, but it is always to be pursued, appreciated and celebrated.

Writing in his book “To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian,” Stephan Ambrose gives us an example. In describing Thomas Jefferson, Ambrose wrote, “He was the author of the Declaration of Independence. The second paragraph begins with a perfect sentence.

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’

Eventually, with Lincoln, who articulated these truths and lived them, and slowly afterward, the idea made its progress.”

Freedom is a constant renewal and development carried out by many people over many years under many circumstances. As freedom has progressed along, African Americans and women have gained a higher status and more legal rights.

Maybe we are still not where we ought to be yet, but step by step the freedom develops.

It has been well observed that when God writes opportunity on one side of the door, He writes responsibility on the other side.

The wonderful freedom we enjoy in America today did not just happen. Someone was responsible for it.

And if we plan to keep the freedom we now have everyone is going to have to share in the responsibility of of keeping it.