“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival…It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” –John Adams, Second President of the United States of America, on the celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.
It’s the Fourth of July, US Independence Day, and even if you’re not based in the US, you know what that means: fireworks, parades, Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring our independence from Great Britain. Most likely, it’s a day off work for you and you’re looking forward to a gorgeous summer day of fun with family and friends.fairs, baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie! Of course it also commemorates July 4, 1776, the day the
But for many in our country, it may seem that there is little reason to celebrate. Our nation faces crises in nearly every important aspect of American life – struggling students, poor health, climate change, andeconomic opportunity to name a few. Many people look to government to solve these problems. But while government has an important role, none of these problems can be solved by government alone. In fact, none can be solved without the committed efforts of the American people, taking action on their own or in concert with others.
Service is the American way to change America. Volunteering is on the rise, and there is every reason to believe that more people would serve if only they were asked. The human capital we need to deploy against our biggest challenges is poised and ready.
Unfortunately, service – by volunteers and national service participants — is often left out of the public problem solving tool box. It is time to get serious about solving the problems that are holding us back as a nation by making it possible for ordinary citizens to play a part. We now have the know-how and evidence to support large scale efforts to use service to address our national priorities.
After decades of incremental progress, the US is at a critical juncture in the history of national service. Across America, national service programs are changing lives, tackling tough problems, creating innovative solutions, and engaging citizens in their communities. With the recently enacted Kennedy Serve America Act, the national service movement is suddenly positioned to achieve significantly greater impact—if we canits true potential and this important labor force of volunteers effectively.
So today, while you’re watching the fireworks, think about what they represent and the challenges our Founding Fathers faced as they served this country. And then, after all the pomp and circumstance is over, take another look at how you’re serving your community and country. Are you taking action?