The Meaning of Independence

Mark Quezada/Civil Beat

Today we publish writings on the meaning of independence, 234 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with its memorable words:

"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."

All three major governor candidates have weighed in, along with a number of others. We thank them all, and hope that their words lead to your own reflections, and perhaps the desire to share your own thoughts.

As a journalist, and an immigrant, Independence Day is a day that I savor. I know from my family's history what it is to live without freedom. I know from my own experience as a journalist that words matter. Think of the words of the First Amendment.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I am grateful for the impact of those words in the daily life of this country. They are bulwarks of our independence.

For your consideration:

A Hawaiian National on Independence Day Professor Jonathan Osorio: I cannot imagine how any Hawaiian, knowledgeable about history and feeling any sense of kinship with his or her 19th century ancestors, could celebrate the Fourth of July.

Mission of Top Hawaii Marine: Energy Independence Col. Robert Rice says sending soldiers overseas to secure a flow of oil from unstable nations is not a sustainable strategy. Out of concern for national security, he hopes to make Marine Corps Base Hawaii self-sufficient with renewable energy within five years.

A Most Interesting Man: Marcus Eriksen From the U.S. Marines to a science educator, teaching about the dangers of plastic marine debris. Marcus Ericsen, the creator of the 5 Gyres Project, argues for energy independence and the need to move away from petroleum to prevent future wars and protect the environment.

Mazie Hirono: End Dependence on Fossil Fuels Hawaii can and should be a leader in alternative and renewable energies. 

Charles Djou: Freedom to Be Independent I mean the noble freedom to become and achieve whatever one’s heart and talents allow — the kind of freedom that our Declaration of Independence proclaims and our Constitution enshrines.

Colleen Hanabusa: Independence Must Be Shared Individual liberties and freedoms also carry with them a duty: My own liberty means less as long as a neighbor lacks freedom.

Duke Aiona: My Thoughts on Independence Day Hawaii has a choice: Reduce our dependence on others for economic growth and basic needs like food and energy, or stick with the unsustainable status quo.

Mufi Hannemann: Two Hundred and Thirty-Four Years Long enough for three generations to leave their mark on this country — for immigrants to begin a new life, for their children to fully realize their parents’ dreams, and for their children’s children to take that legacy far.

Neil Abercrombie: Words We are buried in words. But no matter how well intentioned, how inspiring they may be, words with no action are just reflections of what might be. Words must be backed by actions grounded in a conscience.

Patricia Blair: It is always about choice The 4th should be a day of humility, asking forgiveness, and reflection on what is equality and how do we make amends. I believe that we Americans can do that.

John Roco: Independence from Tyranny Independence means wrestling away ‘ways of the King,’ and freedom to speak out and bring change for the better across our civil society.

Anar Simpson: Time For Broader View We tend to think in terms of one country. But with globalization, immigration, and the Internet, perhaps it is time to put the concepts of independence in a broader, more inclusive context.

Carolyn Blake: Myth That Freedom Prevails True independence is having the freedom to exercise choice, yet being responsible for one’s role to attain group cohesion within life’s parameters.

Andy Woerner: Reflecting on Independence Day The promise of America was summed up in one of the greatest single sentences ever to be written.


Andy von Sonn: Empower Yourself! Today is about igniting a thirst for liberty.

Ramsay Wharton: What the 4th Means to Me This 4th of July, I urge our residents to register and vote, commit yourself to being a part of the light in the dark corners of politics.

Jeff Jarrett: Freedom We give up more freedom and choices to maintain our comfort level.

Thomas Pollard: Family Meaning The Pollard family has been part of the "new" world since the 1600s, and has a long history of serving the nation, from the Alamo to today.

Rafael "Del" del Castillo: Be Unfraid We must believe that by our sheer effort and will, we are capable of eliminating social injustices and inequalities.

Raghu Giuffre: America's National Religion The American Constitution takes millennia of civilizations and condensed it into this simplest of Divine tenets: ‘All men are created equal.’


DISCUSSION: Share your thoughts about the essays and the meaning of independence 234 years after the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

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