"We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident..."
...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it. ..
Is that a great document, or what?
Politicians often try to co-opt Independence Day and call it the USA's birthday and try to wrap themselves in the flag. But in reality it is not a holiday that celebrates government or politicians, and is not the nation's birthday either, and it was a different flag to boot. Technically, the United States of America did not exist until the US Constitution took effect in 1789. (I know someone will disagree with me on this point. It is true the 13 Colonies called themselves the "United States" earlier, but they did not operate under the Constitution, so in my view it was a different government).
It's also kind of silly for politicians to try and act patriotic on this day (while at the same time working on new ways to deny us our rights) as the Declaration is an anti-government document and puts not only King George III on notice, but also any future government, that we know the source of our rights is in the nature of man and that powers come from the people - i.e. don't bite the hand that feeds you, or as they said back then, "don't tread on me". This is truly the people's holiday.
I also like the idea of flying the Gadsden flag for Independence Day, rather than the Stars and Stripes, for two reasons. First, the American flag did not exist in 1776, and the Gadsden flag was widely used by the revolutionaries during the war. Benjamin Franklin liked it too. (Other flags were used in the revolution as well, and the "Betsy Ross" flag was adopted by the Continental Congress in June of 1777). Second, the stars and stripes carries the baggage of the entire history of the United States of America with it, not all of which is something to celebrate (that flag does have its place and I certainly don't denigrate it). I just think that the Gadsden flag better represents the Spirit of '76, which is what this holiday is really all about. You can click on the Gadsden flag above for more of its history.
However you celebrate the day, and with whichever flag, I hope you'll remember that 56 men risked everything and pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" in an historic bid for freedom from which we still benefit. And while you're at it, have a blast! Life Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness is what it's all about.