Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

It's Independence Day, one of my favorite holidays. And not because it's summer, or you get to blow off fireworks, or you get to eat a bunch of good food cooked outside. I love this holiday because of what it stands for.

I know we tend to take it for granted, but it really just blows my mind when you think of the daring, the bravery and the intelligence that our Founding Fathers had. They did something that no one ever did before...they told the mother country that they were Independent. They put EVERYTHING on the line for this idea. All the members of the Continental Congress - people like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and more - knew that what they were doing was, at the time, treason.

And that meant a death sentence.

When they signed the Declaration of Independence, they risked their lives, their fortunes, and their families for the idea of freedom. The idea of a government of the people and by the people and for the people. The idea that we have a voice in how our country is run. That we can worship the religion of our choice. That we can associate with whom we want. That we can become anything we want to be.

As Americans we tend to take our freedoms for granted. I have a good friend, Marina, who grew up in Soviet Russia. And I remember asking her what was the one thing that she really thought was different here in the U.S. than Russia. And without hesitating, she said that here, she could sit in a cafe with her friends and talk about anything they wanted to, and not be threatened with harrassment or arrest. In the Soviet Union, you couldn't do that.

We are so very lucky we live where we do.

So today, when you're chowing down on the hot dogs, and blowing up the fireworks, take a minute to say a quiet thank you to the men (and women) who made it possible. They dserve nothing less.

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