The Fourth of July: Why do we celebrate this holiday?

Most Americans choose to celebrate this holiday in remembrance of the establishment of America by colonists. But what about the Native Americans who sacrificed their lives to make the United States what it is today? Why do we still celebrate it in the first place, and what should we do instead?

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Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/_Ajm-ewEC24
Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/_Ajm-ewEC24

Today, for my first post, I’ll be writing about something that could seem controversial to some but should nevertheless still be said. In light of the past events of Independence Day in the US, many people ask what exactly did America gain independence from? Was it from the British colonies? Or was it celebrating Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the US?

Some may feel as if they may understand the origin of the 4th of July and why America values it so much. (I, for one, even thought of the holiday as America’s birthday!) However, when I dug deeper about the reasoning behind these celebrations towards America’s beloved holiday, let’s just say my initial beliefs were very off.

When looking at certain countries, for example, Australia, you may have noticed that many of the citizens there have viewed their National Day as controversial and unnecessary.

In fact, according to the VOA, the Australian Prime Minister even had to defend the nation’s holiday after numerous complaints doubting the need for the holiday. He went on to talk about how January 26th was a “significant date” for Australia, and how we shouldn’t neglect its importance. However, historians were quick to point out the issues that arose when the prime minister spoke, even mentioning how he mistook the eleven British ships that first arrived in Australia for twelve.

These kinds of problems would inevitably ignite controversy amongst indigenous communities, many of whom are refusing to celebrate a nation that fought and still fights for mass genocide and the exile of their ancestors.

So, when we bring this back to the US, what should we do instead of celebrating our nation’s Independence Day? Well, educating ourselves and others about our country’s true history would be a start. There are countless amounts of students who are learning in a flawed education system, most of whom are completely oblivious to it. Something as small as reading more articles like these or doing a quick Google search about our country’s past would definitely invite further discussion.

In fact, I plan to continue to write these types of articles on a blog that I’m creating, in addition to building a website that would provide additional resources for people that would like to take that extra step towards a better world. It would include donation links, other helpful articles, and a general idea of what I hope to accomplish in the next couple of years.

Discussing these complex topics has always made certain people uncomfortable, and at times can be polarizing. However, I believe it is vital that we take some time to educate ourselves on what we can do to better fix this issue of ignorance and lack of education within our society. Furthermore, I also feel we must raise awareness towards certain people’s experiences with racism, seeing as our justice system evolves along with society.

I hope to educate ourselves beyond the classroom and spend more time engaging in conversations that are happening in real-time. As our knowledge can only improve with the opinions of others, we should spend more time listening to as many different perspectives as possible and keep an open mind.

“Australia Contemplates Controversy Surrounding Its National Day.” Voice of America, 2021, www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/australia-contemplates-controversy-surrounding-its-national-day.

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