Who doesn’t love a holiday where explosives can be heard for miles, people scrape together whatever red, white, and blue they have, and #freedom is celebrated in the most flashy way possible? As Americans, we are obligated to celebrate the 4th of July in any way we can, but we should also think about what the holiday means. This year, America the beautiful turned 238 years old. From being a British colony to what our country is now, we sure have made some incredible advancements over the years. However, we have messed up some things too. While we do not hold the spot as the youngest country (for example, Canada is celebrating their 150th anniversary this year), the U.S still has more to learn from some of it’s older siblings. Let’s go over a few things America has truly proven to be great deeds, followed by other things our country simply shouldn’t be proud of.
1. First Off, Independence!
We all know the long process that was creating the Declaration of Independence, where members of Congress back in 1776 came together to establish the United States (after letting the British know it was time for them to go through the great American Revolution). We have to admire the strength that our little colonies demonstrated during that long fight.
2. Taking Over American Soil, But Not in the Best Way
A part of American history that’s often ignored includes the mass murder of Native Americans after Christopher Columbus landed on what he thought was India and invited the rest of Europe to come check it out. Native American’s are still not treated as they should be, and this is something we should truly pay more attention too, as well as teach the younger generation about. Overall, not a great time.
3. Civil War (NOT Captain America vs. Iron Man)
This period of time is neither good or bad, but is certainly something we will be remembered for. The American Civil War is remembered as one of the most difficult times in our history, being the first time when the young democracy showed signs of tearing apart. With millions of soldiers dead and countless other citizens affected as a result, this “War Between the States” was not pretty. However, it brought forth Abraham Lincoln as a great leader and marked a huge step towards the end of slavery
4. Era of Racial Tensions (And the Fact That This Still Exists)
Slavery was only the beginning of the extremely arduous struggle faced by black people in America. Following the long overdue ending to slavery, racist ideals and extreme discrimination continued to exist during the early 20th century. We have to be thankful to those courageous individuals who began the fight for African American rights, and who continue to carry on the legacy of equal rights for all people.
5. First in Flight, First on the Moon
We were the first country to put human beings in the sky and on the freakin’ moon! In 1903, when the Wright Brothers put their original aircraft to the test after an initial failed flight, they introduced a whole new form of transportation and innovation that would grow immensely in subsequent years. Flash forward to the 1960s with the space race in full swing, and the United States NASA program successfully landed men on the moon. One giant leap for mankind, indeed.
6. How LONG it Took to Grant Women the Right to Vote
Nineteenth amendment, thank you for finally giving us ladies a right we deserved WAY earlier in history. Along with badass women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony who began working on the issue of women’s rights back in the mid-1800’s, many more women suffered and worked tirelessly for this right. Our country should definitely recognize the unfair way many people in the country treated suffragettes, and understand that trying to keep women from having a voice was (and is) NOT cool.
7. First Earth Day
America basically invented the environmental movement back in the 1970s, and this issue continues to be of extreme importance today. The organization of Earth Day brought together members of all political parties, something beyond rare today, and made people all over the country aware of the issues human beings were created in the environment because of our major industries. Forget Woodstock, Earth Day comes in first for me!
8. The Iraq War
America’s initial occupation of Iraq, as ordered by President George Bush in 2003, resulted in complete chaos and extreme controversy. This eight-year long war left over 20% of the Iraqi population displaced from their homes, millions of American soldiers and civilians dead and cost about $2 trillion. This conflict made America look really, really bad and still remains a source of regret for many.
9. THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT!!!
Need I say more? When Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States back in 2008, the world went wild. His election represented a huge win for all the people who had been fighting for equal rights throughout generations, and truly proved that America is the land of opportunity. No matter what political side you may be on, it’s extremely important to recognize that this man’s accomplishment is truly one for the books.(Plus, we’ve got to thank him
10. Our Current President...
Sorry to get political, but this hot topic cannot be ignored. The past presidential election was one of extreme tension and many people agree that our country was in its most separated state since the Civil War. It’s hard to ignore the fact that our country now has a former reality TV star as President, among the many other things Mr.Trump has proven about himself. However, the fact that we are a democracy is still something to celebrate, even if major mistakes are made in the process… Right?
Well, here’s my list (and it certainly could use some more)! America definitely has its bad sides, but I’m still proud of the things we have achieved and what we continue to accomplish today in civil rights, technology, the arts and overall freedom. Happy Birthday, America, I love you no matter what.
As always, I do not expect all people to agree with my opinions. Please keep an open mind.