Happy Birthday America!
Today marks the 235th year of American Independence. Enjoy your freedom, America - and we're glad to have helped get you started!
It's the Fourth of July. You know what that means, right? It means London's Royal parks will be heaving with obnoxious foreigners having barbecues where they shouldn't, lighting fireworks that'll keep us awake until 3am and endlessly chanting, "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
And rightly so!
It's certainly not a celebratory moment that we Brits would begrudge our American cousins. Two hundred and thirty five years ago, some Brits let other Brits (ahem) win the Revolutionary War for their independence from extortionate taxes and a lack of representation. Who today could blame them for casting off those shackles, especially when we are witnessing so many similar movements the world over.
If Paul Revere had known that fateful night when he rode in, passing along the message that 'the Regulars were coming out', that it was to be the birth of a nation so significant, perhaps he would have honed his message to the more appealing yet mythical phrase, "The British are coming!"
Unlikely, since Revere and his comrades were British citizens themselves. Nevertheless the point remains that the revered founding fathers of the United States left legacies they could never have dreamed of.
Today, the Fourth of July signifies so much more than the founding of a great nation. It signifies the pursuit of liberty and justice the world over. It signifies the never ending defence of freedom and individual rights. In a time of great flux internationally, where people are looking for an ideal, chasing a dream of self-governance and throwing off the shackles of dictatorship, it signifies the importance of those great words uttered in the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Happy Birthday America... and many, many happy returns!
[Below is a video of the unveiling of the Reagan Statue in Grosvenor Square, London - right outside the US Embassy]
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