Friday, July 4, 2014

It's Independence Day

One of my favorite activities on Independence Day is to listen to as many patriotic songs as I can.

It's not because I'm some sentimental jerk or anything, but it reminds me of two things.  Over time...even back to the Revolutionary War days...that music expresses deep emotion and, secondly, one of those emotions is patriotism.  Patriotism is, to me, the love of one's country.

Patriotism is quite a random thing when you think about it.  I was born in the United States because one night my parents decided know.  Nine months later, I was a natural-born American.  I often think about how fortunate that I was that my parents lived here and were relatively well-off.  It gave me a few steps ahead from others in the world.

For example, I never wanted for food or water.  When I wanted a toy, I didn't always get it right away, but my parents usually eventually got those things I really really wanted.  I earned a great public education for free, and, when it came time for me to go off to college, I was able to go thanks to my parents picking up half the tab.  I'm still paying off the rest in student loans.  All-in-all, I've had it pretty good.

Others in this same country certainly can't say the same.  They've had to fight, claw, scratch, and bite for every last thing they've earned or will earn.  I honor and appreciate those sacrifices.  I also pledge to do my part to use everything in my power to help where I can.

What's amazing is that even if you are the richest of the rich or the poorest of the poor or somewhere in the middle like me, many of us come together on Independence Day and celebrate the birthday of this great land.  We may celebrate it with friends and family at a barbecue or alone over a peanut butter sandwich.  We may watch the fireworks fly or simply hear them on the next street over.

We all live in a country where we have been endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  What those rights mean to you is entirely different than probably what they mean to me, but that's the great thing about this imperfect union we are trying to make more perfect every day.

For all the gridlock, struggle, and strife, we are all Americans.  We all one nation.  While we are all independent of each other, we have that independence because of what happened back in 1776.  That's something.

Happy Birthday USA.

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