The Declaration of Independence—the reason for Sunday’s celebrations—set forth in timeless and poetic fashion the ideals on which this country was founded. Tragically, too many of those born to the liberties we enjoy have no notion of the struggles that birthed this great nation.
A just-released Marist poll found that more than 25% of U.S. residents do not know what country the Founding Fathers declared their independence from. Among the guesses: France, China, Japan, Mexico and Spain.
And that cluelessness is being perpetrated on future generations: A study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni reveals that just 15% of colleges and universities require students to take a U.S. government or history course as part of a well-rounded education. In the city, Brooklyn and Hunter colleges, to their credit, do. Columbia and NYU do not. Such ignorance frays the ties that bind this nation together.
So as you watch tonight’s fireworks—a flourish suggested by our second President, John Adams, by the way—why not start educating yourself with these simple but powerful words:
“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.”
Pursue happiness all you like. Just remember who made it possible.