An Op-Ed Piece Reminding Us All Why Independence Means So Much
July 4th is a day when Americans pull out those dusty barbecues, that ice chest, get crafty with cocktails, band together with friends and family and celebrate our independence. And while the significance of today is to commemorate our independence from the thirteen colonies being a part of the British Empire back in 1776, today it seems to hold an even more substantial meaning. This year while our nation is more divided than ever and the very beauty of the liberties we’ve fought so hard for are in jeopardy of being destroyed, I hope we see the 4th as a reminder that equality and unity are more important than ever before.
It’s easy to get caught up in the fireworks and celebration while cold beer flows, hot dogs and burgers get slung on the BBQ under the careful watch of a proud American. Let us never forget that proud Americans are not simply white males and females celebrating but rather Indians, Iranians, Brits, Irish, Afrikaners, Spaniards, Mexicans, Cubans, Australians, Canadians, French, Italians, Germans, Gay, Straight, Transgender, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Catholics, Agnostics, Atheists and even those wacky Scientologists. The beauty of today is we celebrate the freedom of many. The voices of millions whose hope for more has echoed in the very stars and stripes of the flag we wave, the military we support, the businesses, politicians, and immigrants all working and living and believing in a system of government that believes in equality.
This year while we wave our American flag please don’t forget that the flag represents a multitude of cultures, ethnicities, religious beliefs, ideologies, political parties, and above all: FREEDOM. We are a nation whose very fabric is designed to support freedom. Freedoms not meant to be stripped by personal issues but rather applauded because of conviction. We live independent of dictators, monarchies and oppression and while we wade through this sea of absolutely chaos now leading us into a state of uncertainty let us all remember the things in which we stand for: LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. We also stand for justice and equality and somehow under the present administration too many have forgotten the very power of those words: justice + equality. These aren’t loose terms in need of redefining. Justice must be applied to everyone, even those in a position of power – moreso in this case. When equality is in danger of being dismantled, we fight to ensure that never happens. Otherwise we no longer understand that which we proudly deem “American”.
So while we gear up for a warm summer day, don our red, white and blue, set off fireworks and pause in awe as we gaze upon them, let us always be mindful of the essence of the very meaning of today. Don’t take for granted the men and women fighting in war and serving our country. They still deserve a heroes welcome no matter what your personal or political beliefs may be. Like anyone who dares to stand up for our freedoms, they too are worthy of recognition and respect. That is something our nation is failing at so should you see a man or woman of every color, every belief and every conviction in uniform or whom have served this great nation, thank them, honor them, commend them.
And while you look on the faces of those you may find totally different from you, smile and be thankful the world is as beautiful and diverse as it is. Because we are all one nation – under god (whatever that may mean to you) – indivisible (meaning we are not separate but equal – we ARE equal and we should not be tearing one another apart) – with liberty and justice for all.
– Dawn Garcia