Happy Birthday. No, not mine, although I did add another notch on the tree of life a couple of weeks ago, and I’m not thinking of any of your big days, either. I’m getting all excited about our common birthday, the Fourth of July. Imagine that it all came about because of guys from the original 13 colonies gathering together to actually tell the King of England to jump in the sea. Symbolically, they only dumped some tea into the bay waters but it turned the tide and we now celebrate the beginning of one great nation. The Continental Congress was an assembly of a group of men representing those colonies and who were dedicated to declare their independence from English rule. And that they did. That was July 4, 1976. The first congress met in 1974. It took two years to iron out all the provisions of the new fledging government. Most cities in the nation celebrate the birthday of all birthdays with parades, picnics, family gatherings and the proverbial political speeches. It is fitting and good that all these do occur. We have to remember where we came from, how we got here, and where we might be going. Over time, those 13 colonies have exentded the to our current 50. The fact that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have endured for these many years should be a tribute to those original patriots who composed the history-making documents. Besides the growth of states, there have been amendments to the Constitution over the years. Notable was the first amendment that gave freedom of the press, right to people to assemble peacefully, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievences. More recently the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote. Thomas Jefferson was a great believer in amendments. As the author and signer of the original document, he stated that it was for the living not for the dead. He acknowledged that each generation had to review what needed to be added to insure the freedoms for all were protected and declared. So, Happy Birthday, you sons and daughters of freedom. Have a very nice Independence Day.