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Fireworks, Freedom, and A Is for the American Dream

July 3, 2024

As fireworks illuminate the summer night sky and the smell of poolside barbecues wafts through neighborhoods, Americans will take much needed respite from their busy lives this first week of July. While many Americans celebrate the long weekend with fun and festivities, Independence Day is first and foremost a time to celebrate a moment in history of profound significance for our nation—and the whole world. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress officially declared the colonies’ freedom from Great Britain. On July 4, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence and sent it to be printed. The next seven years were marked by violent conflict, but the revolution ended in independence for the colonies with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The story of the United States that began unfolding on July 4, 1776, is one of resilience, fortitude, and industriousness. At its core, the holiday is about independence, but more importantly, it is about liberty and a set of principles that respect and protect the dignity of the individual. On this holiday, we collectively celebrate as Americans by gathering in parks and in backyards to watch flashes of red, white, and blue in the sky, and to enjoy the company of our friends, family, and neighbors. On an individual level, we celebrate the freedoms ingrained in our way of life that allow us the opportunity to gather with those whom we wish and to speak from our conscience.

Celebrating our country’s freedom is also an opportunity to extend an understanding and appreciation for our founding principles into the future. A Is for the American Dream, a children’s book created by the Goldwater Institute, is one such avenue to do just that.

The book started as a desire to inform the next generation about the values that have shaped America’s journey from its founding. Written by Goldwater Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg, the book takes parents and their children on a trek through the alphabet to visit such concepts as Bravery, Gratitude, Liberty, and Opportunity. Each page is creatively illustrated to provide access to these concepts for young readers, and to ultimately engender an appreciation for the heritage of which they are an instrumental part. By exploring these concepts together, parents and their children alike will be inspired to cherish the values that place Americans in a unique position in the world.

A Is for the American Dream is a children’s book, but it is also a testament to the enduring force behind America’s founding principles. From the colonists who bravely fought for independence, to the intrepid pioneers who sought opportunity, the American way has been strengthened by the resolve of generations of patriotic men and women. Ultimately, A Is for the American Dream is a book not only for the whole family, but a book to be passed on from generation to generation.

As your family gathers for your traditional Fourth of July celebration, think about the timeless ideals that define our country, and the gift of liberty that is guaranteed for future generations by the resolve of those that came before.

Click here to learn more about A is for the American Dream, and use promo code Freedom50 to save 50% as you instill in your child a sense of wonder and awe for the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Tyler Bonin is the Civics Education Specialist at the Goldwater Institute’s Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy. 



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