Independence Day, Liberty and Languages
Why? It’s Independence Day, of course. The 4th July seems to have come around very quickly this year; a year that has been filled with both joy and sadness as with the years previous to it.
Independence day is a chance to come together and celebrate the day in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.
“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” is one of the most popular references to this document and sums up nicely the reason for adopting the declaration.
To the USA this is a potent reminder of their ancestors fight for liberty and it is a point of pride for many; much like languages are a matter of pride in countries. Languages and significant dates in history help to preserve a country’s individuality.
I have never really taken the time to learn about the lead up to this day in 1776. Previously, I must confess, although history is a great love of mine, I did not consider Independence Day with regard to the huge historical significance.
I know, of course, that it is a day of great importance in America and that it celebrated the country’s independence from Great Britain. However, it had not occurred to me to question why they had pushed for independence.
I am aware that many of you will already be well versed in the historical events leading to the declaration but let me give a brief overview for those who, like me, had not taken the time to consider it in more detail:
• The Declaration of Independence was signed during the American revolution, which is when in the 18th Century, the thirteen colonies of North America rose up against the rule of the British Empire. These thirteen colonies we originally part of a larger number of British Empire colonies.
• America was intended to be ‘the land of the free’. The way of life in the Britain at the time was very much a contrast between the rich land-owners and the poor. This was something that the colonies in North America wanted to avoid.
• Following increasingly heavy taxation, among other factors, the thirteen colonies fought the British armies and then unanimously decided to sign the Declaration of Independence which united the 13 colonies to form the United States of America that we know today.
Given this progression of events, I can see why Independence Day is so important in America. Just as events in for the British monarchy are a a proud time for many in the UK and the return to democracy is important in Spain, for example.
This pride in historical events is similar to the protectiveness of languages in individual countries; Germany and France for example are so proud and keen to preserve their languages that they want to ensure a certain amount of music in these languages is played on the radio, amidst all of the English and American pop and dance.
Languages and history are two huge aspects of culture for countries worldwide.
It is important to mark occasions such as Independence Day because it reminds people to unite and be proud of their nation. As we have seen with the recent European Football Championship 2012, people come together with their fellow countrymen and women and support their country.
Independence Day has very much that same effect in the USA.
What other events and cultural aspects make you proud of the country you come from? Let us know via the comment box below.
For more information on the languages we work with here at Lingua Translations, please visit our languages page.
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