Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

I know, it's July 5th and Independence Day was yesterday. But because thoughts on things happen before, during and after the moment, I'm writing about yesterday, today.

Americans love a party. We recognize trees on Arbor Day and celebrate the weather on Groundhog Day, and we even throw parties for other countries' holidays. But there's something different about the fourth of July. It's a holiday with no fuss, no gifts, no cards. Instead of sitting around a formal table with family members only, we fling open the doors and take the party outside with family, friends and neighbors. Paper plates, chips and salsa, burgers, hot dogs, and outdoor games are all part it. Something about this holiday lures everyone out. We're comrades, fellow countrymen, co-enjoyers of this wonderful home.

Beneath all the casual fun is something very significant. Deep inside, we have an immense sense of gratitude for all that was done to secure our independence. Standing amidst hundreds of other Americans with my hand over my heart while our national anthem plays is a tremendous privilege, and I did nothing to earn it. Given that, I have a responsibility to protect it and make it the best it can be for my fellow people. I was also reminded that we fought for independence from something so we could be dependent on something else. The people who founded this country weren't seeking anarchy -- they sought a government under God.

America is a gift, and I'm so glad to celebrate it with all who are proud to be American.

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