In just a few days, millions of Americans will put on their red, white and blues and gather to celebrate the Fourth of July with parades, concerts, picnics and lots of loud, explosive fireworks lighting up the sky.

This is the day we show our true American pride, right?

I believe it is safe to say yes, but I am sure if asked why we celebrate the holiday some may not have the answer.

The Fourth of July celebrates the birth of the nation and is regarded as “Independence Day.”

It goes back to the 18th century and the dawn of the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence, a formal document laying out the plans to free the 13 colonies from British rule, creating a new nation.

Though the Continental Congress had already agreed to separate from Great Britain on July 2, it wasn’t until the Declaration of Independence — drafted by a committee including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin — that the colonies announced the decision to the world.

This day in our history and the document itself have infused our culture with what we have come to believe and value today. Our beliefs in liberty, equality and individual rights, including the right of every person to pursue happiness, came out of the Declaration of Independence.

The Fourth of July should be a day to recognize that.

It should be a day to celebrate our independence, our freedoms and having the opportunity to live the dreams and lives we want in our country. It should be a day to thank our everyday heroes — the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect the United States.

It should be a day of thanks and pride, but also of reflection.

The Declaration of Independence states: “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.”

While it is important to show patriotism, it is also equally as crucial to understand that it is not 100 percent true and we are still fighting to make the nation great.

Not all the rights listed in this document have been equally afforded to all Americans.

African Americans, the LGBTQ community, individuals with disabilities and women, among others, all continue to struggle with oppression.

Not every African-American man or woman can walk on the streets without being stereotyped. Some in the LGBTQ community are shunned for being who they are, even by their own families. Those with disabilities can be looked on as weak or incapable. Women are sexualized and objectified and still make less money than their male counterparts.

They are not white, heterosexual, able-bodied men like our founding fathers. They are not all equal. They are all minorities and they are all still oppressed in today’s America.

As a white, able-bodied, middle-class female, I may not and will never really know what life is like for some of the minority groups. This is just what I have observed from talking to people and learning about their cultures and experiences.

This is not meant as any sort of anti-American stance. It’s simply a reflection of reality.

By understanding these realities and knowing our nation’s history, we can learn and continue to fight for true equality for everyone.

Don’t let the bright colors of the Fourth of July celebrations get in the way of the bigger picture of reflection. This country is great, but we can make it better.