Fireworks, Firearms & Freedom

The Meaning of Independence Day

By the time you’re reading this, Independence Day has come and gone. Thoughts of fireworks, picnics, parades, family reunions and carnivals fill our minds from the festivities. We remember brilliant fireworks displays as the final culmination after a wonderful day of cookouts, shooting, beach trips, the proud display of stars and stripes clothing and flying Ol’ Glory herself. And why not? It’s what you do when you love your country and are grateful for what we have.

But Independence Day’s true meaning is much more. With the passing of time, the meaning has been diluted — watered down by some. Let me explain the real reason of the celebration and what it means to me for those who may have forgotten the true meaning.

Fighting Founders

In 1776, the legal separation of the original 13 colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2nd, when the 2nd Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. The document was written and signed two days later, on July 4th.

John Adams stated he hoped the Independence anniversary would be marked for years by guns, bonfires and other illuminations. The first fireworks display happened in the middle of the Revolutionary War, some historians believing they were used as a “morale booster.” The celebrations of the time would have also included cannon and musket fire, adding to the explosive nature of festivities.

The brilliant booming fireworks we all enjoy today are symbolic of cannonade and musket fire from the past, and our promise to fight anyone trying to deny our United States her liberty.

As much as things have changed over the last 244 years ago, the one thing remaining constant is the vital role of firearms. We know their relevance freedom. Guns allow us to be secure by providing security for us. Guns provide sustenance for us by taking game. And guns allow us to defend ourselves from wrong doers. Guns allow us to keep our freedom by giving us the ability to bite back.

Tank’s Magnum Research BFR Custom Elmer Keith Special Edition in .500 Linebaugh
is as American and Patriotic as you can get!

Celebratory Conniption

For any sixgunner worth his salt, you can’t think of July 4th without thinking of Elmer Keith. For on that fateful day, it was the start of something big, by experiencing a mishap of magnanimous proportions.

On Independence Day, 1924, the young cow puncher went to shoot his heavily loaded Colt SAA .45 Colt in celebration. On the second shot, the cylinder blew up, as well as the top strap, and Elmer was temporarily deafened from the report when the three loads detonated. This mishap led down the long, winding road to the development of the .44 Magnum.

In true American fashion, Elmer took this mishap and made the most of it through a prodigious writing career and development of several guns, loads, bullet molds and calibers.

Here’s Elmer Keith’s blown cylinder from that fateful July 4th mishap.

America is still the land of opportunity — if you’re willing to work for it. Some choose to be unhappy, thinking they should be given opportunity and not have to work for it. We’ve become a land of instant gratification and entitlement for the unhappy, or those unwilling to work for what they want in life. Our country isn’t perfect, but it’s still the best country in the world, and will continue to be as long as we have our freedoms and a few guns around.

Picnics, Plinking & Pyrotechnics

As a kid, the Fourth of July meant something. We called it Independence Day for reason. Unfortunately, it seems that reason isn’t politically correct anymore. I remember celebrating Independence Day as a kid. There was always a wonderful picnic, consisting of grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, fried chicken and loads of side dishes, followed by even more desserts. Flags were proudly displayed, and everyone felt proud to be an American. Are we even allowed to utter those words today without fear of causing a riot?

Pictures of iced cold lemonade were at each end of the table and everyone was in a joyous mood. We were happy because we were free; free to do as we pleased, without an overreaching government monitoring our every move. Everyone genuinely loved our country back then.

We all seemed to get along, too. If you didn’t particularly like something someone was doing, you simply ignored them without making a Federal case about it or debated them for a while. After forgetting your differences, you were still friends. We simply respected each other.

Introducing youngsters to the safe handling and proficiency of firearms is vital to keeping our freedom.

We always made sure there were plenty of guns around on Independence Day too! What better way to celebrate our freedoms than by plinking away at targets?

Some of you remember those “good old days.” It’s up to us to keep those traditions going. Take a kid shooting, introduce your kids, grandkids and neighborhood kids to safe firearm handling and watch them get bit by the gun bug. You’ll feel good about yourself and keep our most valuable freedom alive by bringing in some new blood.

Happy (belated) Independence Day!

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