The Fourth of July

The Fourth of July

A bit of history: In 1776 American colonies were faced with what is called “Taxation without representation”. This mean the colonies were forced to pay taxes to England’s King George III despite having no representation in the British Parliament. In June of 1776 a document was drafted to sever the ties with Great Britain. 86 changes were made to the original document by the Continental Congress with the final version being on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence. This is our most cherished symbol of liberty. 

Congress established independence Day as a holiday in 1870 and in 1938 reaffirmed it as a paid holiday for federal employees.

Fourth of July

Lee Greenwood wrote: “God Bless the USA” in 1984 and it was released in 1985. The idea came to him for this song when he watched veterans from the wars marching in a parade on the Fourth of July. The song gained huge prominence when 9/11 happened. Find the recording on your computer to hear one of the most beautiful songs ever written and your faith in America will be reunited into your heart. 

On September 11, 2001, my husband and I were driving from Fredericksburg, VA where we were staying, to the Regan airport to return our rented car. I commented about all the smoke in the air ahead of us. We stopped at a gas station to fill the rented car with gas and noticed two women having a serious discussion but did not listen in. Taking the wrong exit, thinking it led to the airport, we were shocked to see 4-5 lanes of backed up traffic. I rolled the window down and asked the driver next to us if this was the usual amount of traffic on this exit. He said to turn on my car radio. And when I did, I then learned the horrific truth of 9/11. Our children were trying to call us as we could see on our cell phone, but nothing could get through. My husband noticed a bread truck in the outermost lane shuffling around and through the lines. Jim decided to follow him. 

We did indeed get out and onto the highway and then turned around to go back to Fredericksburg. It was a sad site seeing lines of employees exiting the building next to the traffic line out onto the highway. They were walking along the highway in their suits, carrying brief cases. It haunting to watch. 

We spent two days back at the hotel wheeling and dealing with the car rental company to extend the price of the original fee, so we could drive back home to Minnesota. No one could fly anywhere. My heart was filled with love for our country as we drove under overpasses and saw people standing as they held large American flags over the railing. We honked our recognition of love. 

Our number 2 son, an ex-Marine, proudly displays two flags on a high pole in front of his house, a large American flag and a smaller Marine flag underneath. If children in school no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag, why not?


PBS.org. (2024). History of Independence Day. [A Capitol Fourth]. Retrieved July 8, 2024, from PBS website

Wikipedia.org. (2024, July 8). God Bless the U.S.A. Wikipedia

Mary, Mother of Jesus

Karen Fleming is a longtime companion and friend of St. Paul’s Monastery and is a frequent contributor to St. Paul’s Monastery communications.