Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect on independence via Independence Day, as celebrated in the USA.
Preparation and materials
- In advance of the assembly, ask the children to make a list of the things they would like to do or have if they were 'free' to do so – ‘freedoms’ – for Step 3. You can create a presentation of their suggestions.
- Also ask them to write their own prayers of thanks for the freedoms that they feel are theirs.
- Have available an image of the American flag, or draw it, and the means to display it during the assembly.
Show the image of the American flag.
Who knows what flag this is?
Some may know a little about the history of the flag, such as the meaning of the stars and the stripes.
Who knows why the 4th of July is a very special date on the calendar for people in the USA?
Key points include:
– it’s the date of the Declaration of Independence in 1776
– the creation of the Declaration was an important time in the history of the USA because it was when the leaders of the country decided that they wanted to be free from Britain
– in the USA it is celebrated with parades and there is a real carnival atmosphere
– it's a time for family picnics and outings.
We all dream of 'freedom'.
Show the list of 'freedoms' the children composed earlier.
Our 'freedom' will always have a 'price'.
Quote some examples from the children’s list or some of the following.
To enjoy listening to music. It may be too loud for others who don't enjoy my choice.
To eat what I want. It may be unhealthy – for example, too many sweets and their effect on my teeth.
To say what I want. It may be hurtful to other people.
To go where I want. Damaging something that doesn't belong to me.
When Jesus lived, the people in his country were under the rule of the Roman Empire. They were not free, but had to live by the rules of the Romans, whether they liked it or not.
Even Jesus' own people were divided because they had strict rules that made some people appear to be second class or less important than others. Jesus' teaching is that we are all equally important to God and should be 'free' from feeling second class or wanting and needing to feel more important than others.
The 'price' of that freedom is we should be as concerned about other people as we are about ourselves.
Time for reflection
The children or you can read the prayers of thanks they wrote earlier.
Find out more background information about American Independence Day by looking at one of the many websites, such as www.holidays.net/independence
Ask, ‘What was the War of Independence about?’
Find out more about slavery in America. What must life have been like as a slave?
Listen to some of the traditional spirituals sung by American slaves. What sort of life do they describe? What sorts of hopes could the slaves have?
'Our eyes have seen the glory of our saviour Christ the Lord' (Junior Praise (Marshall Pickering), 191)
'He's got the whole world in his hand' (Come and Praise, 19)