I am seeing a troubling trend for Independence Day this year. Some people are actually complaining about the public ads and posts that thank veterans and honor the military on the 4th of July. Now, I am well aware that the 4th of July is neither Veterans Day nor Memorial Day, and I don’t think anyone in the military is asking for it to be treated that way.

Are there already “too many military holidays” on the national calendar? No. I think not. Honestly, I think we could honor those in military service every single month, and it still wouldn’t equal or repay the services they have done for their country. But that’s not the point. The point is that it is completely appropriate and acceptable to honor the American military on July 4th. And here’s why.

Honor military on the 4th of July

1. Fact: we have independence from Great Britain because of the military

While technically the Declaration of Independence signed on July 4th was not a declaration of war, it was the document that led to the Revolutionary War. The Marine Corps had been formed 7 months earlier in anticipation of a war. The document itself says that America will consider Great Britain “Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.” The representative to the First Continental Congress had different opinions about whether or not we should go to war, or how we should protect our freedom. But ultimately, those who signed the document knew what it would mean and how it would be received in England. So they prepared for war, and invited General George Washington to form a militia.

Today, we still have our independence in part because of our military power and our diplomatic efforts with other nations. It is because our military practices with friendly nations and unites against common causes that we have allies in this world at all. It is because the military engages terrorists in their own host nations that we don’t have more victims on our own soil. So regardless of how you feel about the American military fighting in different parts of the world, it is still appropriate to show respect to those citizens who volunteer to fight, in order to protect American freedom.

2. Honoring military does not mean there’s no room for anyone else

Some people believe that there is too much focus on thanking the military on the 4th of July, and point out that there is more than one way to protect civil liberties. Yes, I agree that many people preserve our freedoms in this country: teachers protect our right to learn and think, religious leaders and church organizations protect our religious freedom, firefighters and police officers preserve the safety and security of all citizens. And I find it interesting that most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were not connected to the military. Most were farmers, lawyers, or doctors. Some were writers and newspaper owners. They were thinkers, and it is their ability to think and reason that gave us the liberties we enjoy today.

So let’s think this out: does honoring the military detract in any way from other noble services? Does saying “Thank you, veterans” or “Remember those who bled for your freedom” somehow diminish the work of firefighters and emergency room workers? I don’t think so. I think there is room to honor everyone. Many towns hold parades on Independence Day, and those parades are a perfect place to display and honor any civil leaders in that town. If there happens to be a military veteran, great, it is completely appropriate to include him or her. But that is no reason others can’t be included too.

3. Other civil servants don’t make the same sacrifices as the military

Some people want to silence the praise of military service on Independence Day because they just don’t value the military. As a military spouse, I get frustrated when I hear small interest groups chiming in that their work and sacrifices are just as important as military service. Yes, doctors and lawyers are important. Yes, church volunteers are important. Yes, teachers are important. No one is denying that. I certainly don’t want to get rid of any of those career fields.

But for those who want to hear less about the military, can anyone really equate civil services to the sacrifices of military personnel fighting overseas? We have an all-volunteer military service, which is only 1% of our population. Everyone in service now volunteered and vowed an oath to put their life on the line “to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies.”

Service members deploy overseas for months, or even a year at a time. They risk being wounded, damaged, or killed in service. Meanwhile, their families members make countless sacrifices to support the service member. I don’t know of any other career field who vows to defend the Constitution, and who is willing to do so at the cost of their life. The Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence by pledging “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.” It is our military that continues to make that pledge. So on this holiday that celebrates our independence from a foreign power, it is completely appropriate to honor the military members who have volunteered to accept that responsibility.

The 4th of July celebrates the reasons WHY veterans serve the military: life, liberty, happiness. Click To Tweet

4. Military members love this holiday because they love their country

To anyone in the military, the 4th of July is not at all like Veterans Day or Memorial Day. Those are somber occasions to reflect on those they have lost, or those they have served with. The 4th of July celebrates why veterans serve! Independence Day celebrates America–its history, its origin, its founders.

We can all agree that America is not a perfect country, but on this day the military can look around and say, “Yes, this is worth it. This is something worth fighting for.” So the military is not asking to be honored on this day. They do not expect free meals or discounts or “thank you” banners. They simply ask that you continue to honor and respect the country they fight to defend. Veterans are proud of America, and they love its flag.

You, too, can show respect for our great nation. Honor the fact that America is something worth preserving. The military has an important role–perhaps THE most important role–in preserving America from all enemies. Show them that you are grateful for the country, and they will feel honored to continue fighting for it.

Does your town honor military on the 4th of July?


  1. nrbugaolcom

    As the spouse of a retired military I actually wish this holiday would be set apart from the military. As the spouse of a retired military, it is a day I love to celebrate with family, friends and anyone on the block! It is the establishment of our country, it is a declaration of “we the people.” It is the forefathers, the founding fathers, and all those gone before us that paved the way. It is the faith of generations gone by, the enduring love of country, that inspired my husband to a call to service in 1976. Patriotism outside the troops is vanishing quickly; I would like to see this day remain sacred for “we the people” – that there would be pride and willingness to do everything personally possible for the land of the free and the home of the brave. I cannot even begin to imagine leaving the shores of a homeland, setting sail, coming to a strange new place, having my young children called to fight; melting their toys for bullets; having my home used as a hospital…. I could go on and on; these were citizens who more than self their country loved. If this spirit were to prevail, that we the people are invested, and not just looking to the troops; I think we’d have a more united home-front. I believe more young men and women would enter the service. I salute the troops; I salute, pray for and remember the troops daily, including the 4th; but I am okay with not making this day about our military; there is far more to the story. It was because of this event that many rose up and determined that truth, liberty and freedom were worth protecting.

  2. Bill M.

    What’s next? Groundhog Day becoming a military holiday??

  3. derrick bogan

    As a veteran…we have our own days to celebrate as well as Veteran’s Day. This is disgusting. This showing off to the world as a nation we have a dictator in the making. An damn draft dodger (5 times). This counter-productive on so many levels. A nightmare. How is this supposedly honor the military? I mean, really how does this honor the military? A serious ungrateful nation that didn’t support her boys and girls during the Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Panama, Cold War, Bosnia and many more. Instead of wasting $92 million dollars for a coward who will use this to self promote himself as usual. How’s using that money for the homeless veterans who are suffering. Veterans who dying by 22 a day by suicide? Increase benefits for our VA hospitals that’s failing it’s job/mission? Use to help family who barely can afford food or place milk on a table? How’s about acknowledging those who are served and now forgotten by the People and the Nation? But nope. Now everyone wants to be a damn patriot. Guess what? I don’t want to be honored like this or in any format that is disgusting for me as a veteran. Especially from a draft dodger who wants to be king.

    • Lizann

      I can understand your frustration, and I think there are many veterans who feel the same as you.
      To be clear though, I wrote this article years ago, before Trump was elected and before there was any talk of a military parade. That wasn’t the message. Instead, I was defending the military from civilian attacks I was seeing back in 2015.

      • Peter M. Beaumont

        The article stands on its own with or without what Trump has done. That’s an excuse. Clearly, there is a disagreement that this should be bundled in as another recognition of our military. It should not. It is a healthy uniting of America for the Independence it gained. To say your point 1 is a stretch is an understatement.

  4. Kevin Smyth

    I’m active duty. I don’t think about the military at all on the fourth. I think about my family and enjoying living in the USA. That is it.

  5. Angie

    I usually don’t Comment at the ends of these things. But this one really kind of got my attention or at least the comments did. I believe the author of this article was taken out of context by the people who chose to comment. Fact of the matter is the freedom of this country was gained by our military fighting for it in the war of 1812. So I can see both sides, Yes we do have special military holidays such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day. However our military did play a big part in our country gaining its freedom. So I can see why some people like to acknowledge them, out of respect, as a thank you, For the freedoms we have. Without them we wouldn’t have those freedoms. Yes we are celebrating our country but we’re also celebrating the events that led to those freedoms. This article is simply stating that it is her opinion, only opinion, that’s it, That it’s OK to say thank you to the military on Independence Day. It also States that she believes it’s OK to say thank you to the military every other month of the year. So being active military and wife of former military or veteran why would that make you angry or upset? For an article to want to make it OK for people to thank you and your loved ones for your service? For the life of me I cannot understand how that would bother you in any way shape or form. Being the Proud granddaughter of a highly decorated Air Force veteran grandfather If somebody were to thank my grandfather for his service I would not be bothered Any day of the Year even on Independence Day.

    • Lizann

      Thanks for reading and understanding my perspective! I didn’t write it to be a very controversial piece, and my purpose was never to offend anyone. But yes, as a military spouse I will always stand up for the military community, and I hope their sacrifices are always honored. Independence Day belongs to all Americans! So if some Americans want to thank other Americans for their military service today, I think that’s ok.

  6. Mike

    The danger of letting Independence Day become another day honoring the military isn’t about disliking the military at all.

    Rather, it is about making sure one single day remains dedicated to the freedoms America was founded for. We should take the time to reflect on that, if we take a full day each to focus on active military, another for veterans, and yet another for those who served who are deceased.

    • Lizann

      I can understand that. It should be a day for all Americans, and celebrating any individual group could feel divisive. But of course, I wasn’t encouraging military-specific celebrations, just that it is appropriate to thank military… and first responders… and teachers… and all Americans really.

  7. Kelly

    I’m not sure why all of the negative comments? On July 4, we can all celebrate however we want. I choose to celebrate with family and food and flags! I have a son who is in the U.S. Army serving abroad. I sure wish we could be together this year (and in 2020 and in 2019). So, if people choose to honor the military on the 4th, isn’t that their right? Why do others need to put that down? It is, after all, a holiday about our country’s freedom. Don’t we have the freedom to celebrate and honor however and whoever we want?

  8. Janine Cousins

    Just enjoy the day! Blah blah debating!
    USA day.

  9. Lisa Destiny

    Lizann you hit a nerve with a few of the habitually offended. You are right on target with what you were trying to convey. The same people who are offended by statues, monuments and mention of religious celebrations are now having a new target to be offended over. My dad was in the military, and 5 brothers served our country and though they don’t expect to be honored they would not be offended. God Bless you for your input here and please don’t let others’ negativity dull your shine.

    • Lizann

      Thank you for your support! The negative comments don’t bother me. They are from the Trump era (this article has been republished a few times) and just demonstrate people over-reacting about many things during that time. Thank you for the many sacrifices your family has made!

  10. Ryan Houser

    I think that many of the signers were in fact making a sacrifice just as big as the military at the time. 1) Many had to spend very long extended periods away from home. 2) They voted publicly and eventually affixed their names to a document that was pure treason in the sight of Britian. 3) To proclaim that public civil service is NOT a sacrifice is problematic for everyone in a Republic. 4) I don’t think anyone is “attacking troops or those in uniform,” but what is being attacked is a growing militaristic sentiment in this country that seeks to elevate an all volunteer force above other citizens whose efforts also very much make this country great. Further, we risk becoming the very thing that the Declaration bemoans, which is a country where the military is elevated above all others and eventually even becomes a weapon – real or perceived- against those who disagree with the central government, or become propaganda to use against others. Just my thoughts.

  11. Maurice

    Honoring those who fought and lost their lives among other life changing injuries for our independence should not be controversial ON independence day.


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