Fireworks symbolize cannon fire bursting in battles for independence; the American flag, symbolizing a unified nation; patriotic hymns, like “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which marks the struggles in the birth of a nation.
Yet many Americans take for granted the freedom these symbols represent. So this year, in honor of the recently-concluded Fourth of July week-end, I suggest that we reassess what our freedom has given to us, and what we can give in return.
Compared to many other nations, the United States is wealthy with an abundance of rights and possessions. Most importantly, we have the constitutional right to speak freely. Our form of government allows us to voice our opinion or challenge government policies and worship how we please.
With such blessings comes great responsibility, however. We must use our freedom to help our communities, to correct injustices; in short, to build on the foundation laid by our founding fathers over 238 years ago.
That is not all we must do. We must also remember the sacrifice of those lesser-known American patriots whose names and portraits are not found in the history books. These are the soldiers who gave up their everyday lives to fight for our country.
As you read this, men and women of our military are still struggling overseas to ensure freedom for future generations. I hope you kept them in your thoughts and prayers as you celebrated the Fourth this year.
I end this editorial with a question: If you were to travel to a far-off land and were asked by its citizens to explain what American freedom means to you, what would you say? Would you tell them it means fireworks, apple pie, and a day off work? Or would you tell them it means you live in a country where you—relative to those in many other nations—are free to think, free to worship, free to be you regardless of your background?
What would you say?
Take time this year to ponder that question in between the celebrations. You will find that if you do, how you spend America's birthday from this point forward will hold much deeper meaning.
Information provided by Brent Yonts
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