"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
June 28, 2013
Independence Day: A Day to Celebrate "Megwa"
by Dian Thomas

On the Fourth of July we celebrate the day that American colonies declared their independence from England.

By 1774, the colonists were becoming increasingly frustrated with England because of their escalating taxes, yet they had not representation in England’s Parliament. King George II sent troops to occupy the colonies and quell any discontent.

For more than a year, the Continental Congress tried to resolve the problems with England without declaring war, but during the spring of 1776, sentiment rapidly grew in favor of independence. On June 7, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced his famous resolution that “this united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”

The Continental Congress appointed a committee of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman to draw up a formal declaration of independence.

Jefferson was given the task of preparing the draft. The Declaration of Independence he wrote set forth the position of the American Revolutionaries with eloquence, supported by strong legal argument.

Few of the ideas were new. Jefferson said his objective was “to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.”

The committee and congress approved the document with few changes. As Richard Lee said, “The Thing in its nature is so good that no cookery can spoil the dish for the palates of freemen.”

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America was signed on July 4, 1776.

Fourth of July celebrations were popular right from the start. Philadelphia celebrated Independence Day in 1777, with parades of soldiers, cannons firing, bonfires, fireworks, ringing bells, and candles in windows. Traditions of picnics, parades, and fireworks were firmly established by the early 1800s. Today, skies around the country are ablaze every July 4, as Americans celebrate Independence Day.

Last week as I was passing through customs in Los Angles, a man who looked at my entry papers and my passport greeted me. As he gave back my passport he said to me, “Welcome home.” I love the adventure of travel, but it has taught me how much I love and appreciate coming home to America.

On one of my recent trips to China, I went to the back of the plane to ask the flight attendant a question. She asked me if I was from America. I told her yes. Then she said, “We call your country ‘Megwa.’ In Chinese ‘Megwa’ means ‘beautiful country.’”

To me July 4th is a day that I celebrate and reflect on the past, the present and the future of this ‘beautiful country.’

Dian’s Outdoor Special: If you would like to add these fun and easy ideas to your list of exciting things to try this summer or during an emergency, check out the special for Roughing it Easy, Recipes for Roughing it Easy with a DVD on how to cook in a Dutch oven for just 29.99 (regularly $49.97). It is filled with practical and down-to-earth suggestions for wonderful outdoor adventures. Go to www.dianthomas.com.

Want to travel with Dian?  Join one of her trips to China this fall where you will enjoy a cultural feast and fun adventure.  Email Dian at Contact@DianThomas.com or call 801-277-4332 for more information.

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About Dian Thomas

Dian Thomas was blessed with the good fortune to be born near and raised in the remote, breathtaking Manti-La Sal National Forest in southeastern Utah, where her father was the forest ranger. She took the skills she learned in the outdoors and turned them into a New York Times best-selling book, Roughing It Easy. Her appearance on the NBC's "Tonight" show with Johnny Carson boosted her into the national media scene, where she became a regular on NBC's "Today" show for eight years and then ABC's "Home Show" for six years. After more than 25 years of media exposure and 19 books, she now shares her practical insights and wisdom with audiences who want to savor life.

A former Relief Society president, Dian is currently serving as a visiting teacher. Visit her website at www.DianThomas.com

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