A message from Aerlex founder Stephen Hofer:
The Fourth of July feels different this year. After a muted Independence Day observance in 2020 and a year of enervating pandemic, debilitating hardships and many, varied and seemingly continuous frustrations and tribulations, there is a palpable feeling of anticipation, a sense that better times are in the offing, a brighter future is on the horizon – a return to normalcy and, in a word, “independence.” A most apt and welcome sentiment for the Fourth of July.
As the descendant of 13 different ancestors who fought in the War for Independence, the son of a decorated World War II battle hero and now, the father of a daughter who has enlisted in the service of her country, I always find a special pleasure in the Fourth of July.
I have always been appreciative of my unique ancestral legacy, but you don’t need to be a member of the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution to take pride in this most American of holidays. If you believe, as we do at Aerlex, that certain truths are self-evident – that all men and women 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 – then you should welcome this annual opportunity to recall the events of our nation’s founding and honor our national birthday, no matter what your heritage is or how long you or your family have lived in this wonderful country of ours.
John Adams, one of our most celebrated Founding Fathers, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and our second President, once wrote of Independence Day: This “great anniversary festival . . . ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.” That seems like an especially powerful adjuration this year.
And so it will be for the 245th time on Sunday. Wave the flag, enjoy your hot dogs and hamburgers, soak in the sun and sand at the ocean or the lake, thrill to the fireworks bursting in the nighttime sky above you – but take a moment also to say a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the courageous men and women who challenged the greatest military power of the Eighteenth Century and, against all odds and risking their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, persevered to win independence. They did this in furtherance of an ideal, a dream of liberty and justice and a conviction that it was better to die as free men seeking to govern themselves than to continue living as servants of a faraway, hard-hearted, unjust tyrant. Think on this for at least a few moments on the Fourth of July – and recommit yourself to doing whatever you can do, in your own way, to help make the United States of America a more perfect union.
Although things do seem to be getting better, we are clearly not out of the woods yet by any measure and we all hold the power – and the responsibility –to make this truly a more perfect union. These are not easy times, but great nations and a great people seize upon challenging times and act courageously and boldly to wrest a better world from tribulation and strife. In the very first year of independence, two days before Christmas 1776, Thomas Paine penned these immortal words in “The Crisis”:
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated.”
Like 1776, this era, too, is a time that tries the souls of men and women of every race, creed, color, religion and orientation, but like the patriots of long ago, we cannot shrink from the service of our country and our fellow citizens. Pandemic, injustice and rebellion, like tyranny, are contagions not easily conquered, but the harder our struggles, the more rewarding our ultimate victories will be. We are not forced to endure a frozen winter like Washington’s soldiers at Valley Forge, but we are confronted by our own season of discontent and we must have the courage and the will to overcome the hardships we now face in order to build a better, safer, more united country. It is on us to demonstrate the commitment to doing the right thing, to protecting the health of all, to asking the hard questions and demanding answers of ourselves and all of our institutions, to expressing ourselves in the voting booth in the years and the elections to follow – this is our challenge, this is, as Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg, the unfinished work that those who have come before us have so nobly advanced. If we resolve to meet the challenges that confront us now, to make the sacrifices, and to do our part to uphold and advance American ideals, then we will be entitled to claim our place in the revered ranks of the patriots who have come before us. And that, in turn, will give us all a personal stake in the never-ending struggle for freedom and justice that American citizenship demands of us and a true claim on the spirit of the Fourth of July.
Happy Independence Day – from all of us at Aerlex Law Group.