Lady Liberty Has Always Had Her Struggles

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comAmerica turns 241 next week.

And the old girl sure looks like she could use a shot of Geritol.

The old expression “rode hard and put up wet,” comes to mind.

Her metaphorical crows feet and gray hair are nothing new, though — despite the way things have seemed lately. She’s been through a lot since the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence back in 1776.

As I started thinking about how to frame this column, I tried to identify a watershed moment when the going got tough for our country.

Was it one of our numerous terror attacks over the past quarter century? No, it was before any of them.

Was it Watergate or the turbulent ‘60s that saw both the violent attempts to suppress the civil rights movement and the beginning of the Vietnam war? It certainly was farther back than that.

Was it one of the world wars or the great depression?

Was it the civil war? Was it slavery? Was it the trail of tears?

I could keep going, but I don’t have to.

It’s fairly obvious that America’s problems started before she was ever born. Upheaval has always been woven into the American fabric. It’s nothing new.

The battles of Lexington and Concord occurred in April, 1775 — more than a year before the Declaration of Independence was even signed. 

Then in July of 1776, Jefferson and company set the bar pretty high when they signed a document proclaiming “all men are created equal” and then lashed out in a long series of grievances at the tyranny imposed on the colonies by the King of England.

The Revolutionary War didn’t end until 1783 — 7 years afterward the signing.

Independence Day has nothing to do with the Constitution, but it’s important to note the law of the land wouldn’t be ratified until 6 years after the end of the war, and the bill of rights wouldn’t become law until 1791.

That’s quite a time span — 16 years between the shot heard ‘round the world and the bill of rights.

I never thought about it in those terms before, but I guess the process took so long because it was such a bold step.

It continues to look bold still today, in my estimation.

Look how we continue to struggle with the whole all-men-are-created-equal thing, for instance.

I shy away from serious columns about holidays because writers far, far better than I have already said what I am trying to say in a far, far more eloquent and effective way.

I will say this, though. 

As we approach Independence Day, I applaud those 56 brave men who took the leap of faith in Philadelphia 241 years ago. They debated and disagreed, but in the end, they compromised and the rest — as they say — is history.

They had no idea their actions would create the most important nation in the world.

They probably did know, though, the going would be tough.

And, they most certainly believed their new country would be forced to endure hardships along the way.

So far, they have been right. Lady Liberty has survived more than her fair share of tests and managed to thrive in spite of them.

She will survive today’s tumult, and I predict she will survive the upheaval after that, whatever it shall be.

Let’s celebrate America as one this Independence Day. Let’s forget the headlines for a few minutes. 

If we’ve learned one thing in 241 years, it should be that liberty is a journey, not a race.

That should be our takeaway this Fourth of July.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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