A veteran’s perspective

To the editor:

Most people celebrate the 4th of July as a time to get together with family and friends, have a big BBQ and at dusk watch the fireworks.

Yes they do know it was the day that the 13 colonies got together and declared their independence from the British, “these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown.”

This Declaration of Independence was significant in the fact that 56 men agreed that the colonies should be, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” and that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

So a few may not realize that the colonies had been fighting for years before the 4th of July, 1776. The Boston Massacre was a street fight that occurred on March 5, 1770, between a “patriot” mob, throwing snowballs, stones, and sticks, and a squad of British soldiers. The Boston Tea Party was on Dec. 16, 1773, Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775 where two lanterns hanging from Boston’s North Church informed the countryside that the British were going to attack by sea. A series of horseback riders — men such as Paul Revere, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott — galloped off to warn the countryside that the British were coming, just to mention a few.

The Declaration, after each man signed, was the birth of our nation. It was those first “Rebels” who took it upon themselves to fight for our liberty. Without their ideas there would not have been a revolution. On July 5, George Washington and his army began to fight as a country. Fight for our rights, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I did so because I felt it was my duty as an American to serve my country to honor all those that had done so many years ago.

Independence Day should be a reminder that all Americans, not just the military, have a part in protecting freedom. I believe it is the responsibility for all to support and defend the constitution by voting for policies that they endorse.

I appreciate the thanks I receive for serving my country. I recently had the honor to represent Nestle Purina at the congressional baseball game during their Salute to Purina Veterans in D.C. It was a surreal experience to be recognized for my service on such a grand scale.

Visiting the capital of our country and touring all the monuments dedicated to those who actively took steps to establish our nation really brought it all together.

James A. Rivera

Fort Dodge