For many Americans, the Fourth of July holiday means a day off from work; hot dogs and burgers from the grill; ice cold beer; a red, white and blue color scheme; and booming fireworks with the requisite “oohs” and “aahs.”
I suggest that somewhere during the festivities, we should stop — only for a nanosecond or the ice cream may melt — to remind ourselves that our forefathers went out on one hell of a skinny limb so that the generations who followed them would live in a place where the people of the United States would “form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”
What makes our country especially great, in my humble opinion as just some chick who lives in Florida, earned a degree or two in journalism and has made a living off the written word, is the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The fact that I am able, without fear of imprisonment or death for myself or my family members, to write what I want on this blog and share it with the world, make snarky remarks on Twitter, and have public conversations expressing my support or disgust with government leaders and policies is something for which I am eternally thankful.
To my American friends: When the awe-inspiring music of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture cranks up during the fireworks display (read here to learn how this composition by a Russian composer became a Fourth of July standard), think for a minute about how lucky you are to live in a place where, more often than not, good prevails over evil, where brave men and women in the past and today have been willing to shed blood to protect your human rights, and where you have the ability to read and write what you want.
Happy Independence Day!