Aerlex Law Group

Independence Day 2024

A message from Aerlex founder Stephen Hofer:

On this Fourth of July – the 248th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence – I sincerely hope that all Americans can come together to celebrate the enduring democratic values of freedom, equality and justice that have guided this unique nation for more than two centuries.  It is a time to take stock, to honor the courage and vision of those who declared our right to liberty and independence, and reflect again on the principles that unite us as Americans.

As a day of both celebration and reflection, Independence Day encapsulates the enduring spirit of the United States.  As we watch fireworks lighting up the sky on the Fourth of July, it would do us all well to remember the resilience and strength that have carried the United States of America through many challenges and allowed it achieve great triumphs.  We should cherish and hold dear the freedoms we enjoy, and recommit ourselves to building a future where justice and equality  are honored, respected and strengthened.

As a nation built by immigrants who arrived from hundreds of countries and all corners of the globe, we should also once again embrace the diversity that enriches our nation and, at the same time, celebrate the shared values that bring us together.  Whether we gather with family, friends, or neighbors, let us remember that our greatest strength lies in our unity and our unwavering belief in the promise of a better tomorrow.

America’s Independence Day, celebrated on July 4th, is our nation’s most sacred holiday, marking the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, a momentous proclamation signaling the decision of the 13 American colonies to break free from the rule of Great British, laying the foundation for what would become the United States of America.   The Fourth of July is a day of patriotic celebration, a time for reflecting on the nation’s history, values and achievements.

Anyone who has read Aerlex’s holiday messages over the years knows that I am a student of history and love to recount and share that history with our Aerlex audience.  What follows is a brief refresher.

The seeds that gave flower to Independence Day trace back to the tensions that began growing between the British Crown and its North American colonies in the mid-18th century.   Discontent with British policies, including the imposition of taxation without any right of representation in the British Parliament, led to widespread protests and calls for greater autonomy in the colonies.   The situation escalated dramatically following the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when colonists protested against the Tea Act by dumping British tea into Boston Harbor.   The British response to this act of defiance included punitive measures, further exacerbating the conflict.

In April 1775, armed conflict erupted between colonial militia and British Army forces at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, marking the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.  Amidst the ongoing battles, the 13 colonies convened a Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  On June 11, 1776, the Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal declaration of independence.  Virginia delegate Thomas Jefferson, known for his eloquent writing, was tasked with composing the initial draft, which he presented on June 28th.  After a week of debate and revision, the Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence is a profound document, articulating the colonies’ reasons for seeking independence and outlining their vision for a new nation.  I have read it several times in my life and never fail to marvel at what an eloquent and politically masterful testimony it is.  It is an instrument of both principle and purpose.  If you have never read the Declaration or it has been many years since you have looked at it, I urge you to pick it up and study it again.  It is one of the most meaningful documents in the history of man and has had a profound influence on national leaders and peoples all around the world.  The moral standard it enunciates is perhaps the most important reason why the rest of the world has long looked to the United States of America as a beacon of leadership, strength, courage and compassion.

The Declaration begins with the assertion that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It then goes on to list 27 grievances against King George III, accusing him of infringing on the colonists’ rights and imposing unjust laws.  The document concludes with a resolute statement of independence, severing all political ties with Britain.

The adoption of the Declaration of Independence was a momentous event but the Americans’ struggle for freedom was far from over.  The Revolutionary War continued for another seven years until 1783, with significant battles such as the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, where General George Washington’s forces secured what would ultimately be the decisive victory.  The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, formally ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States.  It is a matter of great pride to me that I am able to say that 13 of my ancestors are recognized by both the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution for the roles they played in the long struggle that ultimately led to the American victory that ultimately ratified the original adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

In the 2½ centuries since the Declaration’s proclamation, Independence Day has evolved into a national celebration, marked by traditions that embody American patriotism.  Fireworks are the most iconic symbol of the holiday, lighting up the night sky in vibrant and colorful displays.  Parades featuring marching bands, floats, and veterans are common, fostering a sense of community and national pride.  Many Americans also celebrate with barbecues, picnics, and family gatherings, reflecting the holiday’s emphasis on unity and togetherness.

Aside from its festive aspects, Independence Day also serves as a time for reflection on the values and principles that underpin the nation.  It is an opportunity to honor the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom, both in 1776 and in all the years and wars since, and to recognize the ongoing efforts to uphold the ideals of democracy and equality.  Speeches and ceremonies often highlight the importance of civic responsibility and the need to continue striving for a more just and equitable society.

Independence Day is also a reminder of America’s diverse cultural heritage.  The United States is a nation built by immigrants, and its strength lies in the contributions of people from various backgrounds.  The holiday celebrates the idea that despite differences, Americans are united by a shared commitment to liberty and justice.

Happy Independence Day!  May the spirit of freedom embodied in the Declaration of Independence and celebrated by this holiday inspire us all to dream big, act boldly, and continue the journey toward a more perfect union.

Stephen Hofer and the Aerlex Team