Celebrate Independence Day, but Remember its Meaning as well

By state Rep. Mike Sanders

Recently, a friend of mine traveled to Australia to see the sights down under.

During his travels, he had a conversation with an Aussie and they got to talking about the British Royal Family. They talked about the Queen being on their money and that she is the official Head of State for Australia. Finally, my friend was asked: “So, what’s America’s connection to the Queen?”

Slightly surprised, he answered that America has no official connection to the United Kingdom or British royalty – that we fought a war to earn our freedom and independence from the British crown. That is unique compared to two of Britain’s overseas colonies that eventually became their own countries – Australia and Canada – as they are independent commonwealths that still recognize the Queen as Head of State. In Australia, the Queen is able to preside over the Senate and begin the legislative year. If we had lost that war, I imagine that, in time, we would have gone the way of those two lands and become a nation – but still recognize the Queen as our leader.

If that’s not a clear indication of how unique and special our history is, I don’t know what to tell you. Because of the efforts of this nation’s founding fathers, we have a different situation than our allies down under or in the great white north. Because of their efforts to break free from the British, because of phrases like “Give me liberty or give me death!” we have this independent nation that has become a beacon of freedom across the globe.

And that freedom isn’t free. It has to be fought for, time and again. We’re a war-weary nation at the moment but that’s because there are existential threats to our country and to the Western way of life. We must continue to stand tall in the face of terrorism. My former boss, President George W. Bush, said it best in regards to standing tall against those who threaten liberty and freedom:

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

And that American resolve has stood strong and tall now for 239 years. And it’s all due to two groups of people – the Founding Fathers that fought so hard to break away from Britain and our military service members, who have fought since then to preserve and protect that freedom with their own lives.

I cannot describe with words how thankful and grateful I am that those people chose to risk their lives for the idea that is America. The idea that a nation can be run by the people, for the people and of the people. The idea that we didn’t need a king to rule over us and tell us how to live our lives. The idea that smaller government was best and more personal liberty was of paramount importance.

I hope everyone enjoys this Independence Day weekend. Have a great time at the lake or your cookout. And take in those fireworks. But also take a moment to be thankful for this country and those who sacrificed for its existence and your freedoms.

Mike Sanders serves District 59 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He can be reached by phone at (405) 557-7407 or via email at mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.


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