Guest column: Land of the free, home of the brave

The Daily Ardmoreite
Mita Bates, IOM, CCE

Ardmore Chamber of CommerceThis year, the much-anticipated 4th of July weekend will be a time for us to celebrate our freedom in different ways. We have emerged from the pandemic that forced our lives to be significantly altered, but now with the vaccine rate increasing, we are returning to normal lives. It is truly a time to celebrate!

The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, and many Americans consider that to be the birthday of our country. However, it was not until 12 years later, June 21, 1788, that the Constitution of the United States was ratified. Our forefathers spent an incredible amount of time in discussion, debate, and controversy over how to best craft the governing document of our great country. It did not happen overnight and was only achieved when all parties agreed to communicate, compromise and set aside personal agendas to achieve a greater goal.

This weekend also marks the 158th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Gettysburg. This battle was one of the bloodiest in our Nation’s history, claiming over 51,000 casualties, including wounded and dead. This battle was pivotal in ending the Civil War, a war fought over state’s rights and more importantly - human rights. The division of the country following the war took many years to mend and only the diligent efforts of strong leaders from both sides coming together for a greater good finally achieved the goal.

As we look around our country today, it is easy to become discouraged, but look to history to see that our country and its leaders will find the way. This is not the first time we have been challenged with the issue of equal rights for ALL people and the challenge on personal freedoms brought on by the pandemic.

As we conclude our holiday celebration, I am convinced that our county, its citizens, and leaders, will continue to act with conviction, fairness, and enlightenment for what is equitable for all. Engage and play your role in ensuring the continuation of those guiding principles contained in the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Remember those who have sacrificed for our country, pray for our leaders, and stay safe.

— Mita Bates is the president and CEO of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce.