As a young boy, I remember the Fourth of July being one of my favorite holidays. In a small Midwestern town surrounded by farms and a large Air Force base, patriotism was the norm, the Fourth of July was a major holiday.
We had a carnival in our downtown park with lots of kids’ rides, fireworks at night and a parade most noticeable for the deafening sirens of our volunteer fire department bringing up the rear.
Atascadero once had similar events, but the bad behavior of a few resulted in a multi-decade lull with locals travelling to other communities to celebrate America’s independence. This year will be different: the Atascadero City Council is sponsoring a “Family 4th of July at Atascadero Lake Park” commencing around 8 a.m. with a flag ceremony, followed by many games, rides and events oriented towards families. Bands will play into the early evening.
Galaxy Theatres will show a special movie for families and the Atascadero zoo will be open and free of charge for the day.
Independence Day has always been a big holiday in America, though its meaning has been lost on many. A New York City school recently prohibited kindergarten children from singing “God Bless the USA” at a school event; when they performed it next door in a local park they were surrounded by adult hecklers who attempted to bully them into silence.
Many others deny the religious origins of America’s Revolution and the beacon of hope it has provided to untold millions fleeing tyranny.
Living under tyranny is the norm for most people for most of history. Individual liberty, respect for life at any stage, as is respect for women other than as property, is unusual throughout history, especially outside of western civilization. America was different in all respects.
The first American Revolution began, not on the greens of Lexington and Concord in 1775, but in 1689. Colonial rights had been suspended; a hated king, James II, had replaced colonial leaders and militia officers with Anglican officials, persecuted non-Anglicans and introduced troops in large numbers to enforce royal decrees.
Commerce was stifled by the repressive Navigation Acts that impoverished all but the wealthiest colonials.
A revolution ignited first in Boston, spreading from the Northern Colonies all the way down the East Coast. Blood was shed and colonials risked their lives, fortunes and honor to stand against the legally constituted authority of the British Crown.
Britain eventually relented as the Colonials demonstrated they would fight to preserve their liberty.
A precedent was set and the seeds of the second American Revolution were sown 86 years before by a group of men and women who valued their freedom, especially religious freedom, more than their lives.
Al Fonzi is a retired Army Lt. Colonel and career intelligence officer with more than 30 years of service. He is a self-described conservative and active in several political organizations. Fonzi first moved to Atascadero in 1972.For the complete article see the 06-27-2012 issue.
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