Happy 5th of July . . . . really?

You ever felt like the 5th of July? You come right after the 4th of July. The morning after spectacular fireworks. The day after incredible parades. Less than 24 hours since an outdoor barbecue feast fit for royalty. In the wake of famous words and proclamations galore . . .

You slip into the morning hours like an unwanted visitor. All you hear is the mumblings from those who have to work because you exist. Had you not taken your birthright, then maybe the 4th would still be here and maybe they wouldn’t have to wake up and go back to work. The holiday and the celebration are over. And they are over because you exist.

Well that is pretty dang drab, depressing and otherwise uninspiring. But sometimes we get lost in our celebrations. We got lost in giving or taking the praise for something we all love and cherish. Freedom’s Day. And in those moments, we miss the person in the shadows of all that celebration. We miss the 5th of July because we are still thinking about the 4th of July.

Today is just as wonderful of a day as the 4th of July. Just as wonderful because you are alive. Just as wonderful because you have the opportunity to notice somebody or something that you have never noticed.  Maybe it is not extraordinary like the 4th. But in its ordinary way, it is wonderful. Because if ever day were extraordinary like the 4th of July, then everyday would be ordinary. Stop and read that several times. Yes, ironically, it is the living of the 5ths that make the 4ths extraordinary. It took a lot of 5ths before the 4th gained any enduring significance. And it will take a lot more 5ths for the 4th to keep hold of its enduring significance.

And after the leaders and the politicians finished writing their names on those great proclamations of independence on the 4th, it was a whole lot of ordinary citizens that went and fought the war starting on the 5th. It was the mothers who lost their sons. It was the sons who lost their fathers. It was the fathers who left their families and worried daily about their safety. It was the daughters who became mothers and remembered the pain of their mothers losing sons and feared that pain daily.

I read an article in the local paper about a man who was proud that he owned a copy of the Declaration of Independence. He was a leader in our community. And he pointed out that those “leading” Founders were brave men. They wrote their names for the King of England to see. And he pointed out that the King would declare a death warrant on them. But to get to them, the King had to go through a lot of ordinary citizens.

Every leader needs followers otherwise they lead no one and nothing. When our leadership forgets that simple lesson, then the 4th of July fails to exist. Without the men and women of the 5th, there is no 4th. That lesson applies today as much as it did in 1776. It applies in our country, our communities and our companies. Judging from new stories that I read too often, I think we have forget that lesson. Humble, servant leadership.

Ordinary men and women. On the 5th of July, they woke up and they went to work. The more you think about it, the 5th of July is pretty darn important. And so are those 5th of July persons. Those folks who wake up and go to work so we have our country, our communities and our companies.

Thank you 5th of July!