“Where liberty is, there is my country.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” – John F. Kennedy
“Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both always in proportion as it is free.” – Thomas Jefferson
We will step out of bed in the morning, barely daring to peek out the window. We want the sky to be clear on that day; we want the weather to be clement and the sun to shine down on our parade.
There is excitement in the air. We are celebrating something grant, timeless, meaningful and profound. We may not think about it in those terms exactly. Rather, we think of a sort of great, momentary release from the responsibilities of the daily grind, a coming-together with family, friends and neighbors we hardly see anymore. We expect joy on that day. Perhaps, in some very real way, we expect to feel more like ourselves too.
In towns and villages across the nation, folks emerge from their homes, hotel rooms and cars; we emerge from seclusion even, drawn by the irresistible call to assemble, to make a statement by our mere presence on the streets and in parks; a statement of hard-won, exhilarating freedom. It simply cannot be contained.
We know the story. We have learned it in school. It unites us by its cultural meaning, but also in the unspoken, hidden meaning it finds in each heart. All of us, in some way or another, continue to fight for freedom; the freedom to embrace life in our own individual ways.
Little children, who do not understand the true reason for such cheer on a single summer day, still grasp the feeling of pride and gratitude. Perhaps the story finds its way to them through mere cellular osmosis. In this very organic way, it keeps a flame alive within so that on the appointed day the brouhaha of the neighborhood sparks the flame that revives the memory.
The story thus lives through us. We do not have to fight for our independence on that day. In fact, we do not want to fight; we simply want to embrace it. It is the knowledge of our right to freedom that grants us the confidence to go after our dreams. After all, it all began with an idea and a dream.
“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” – Albert Einstein
“The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.” – Jimmy Carter
“Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.” – Andrew Jackson