Independence Day

I have the fortune to be spending my 4th of July weekend on vacation near the Grand Canyon. Perhaps spurred by that trip, I find myself musing on the myriad wonderful freedoms we have in this country–freedoms so many in other countries have never tasted. We have the freedom to move about freely, to associate openly and express our views (even when critical of those in power). We have the freedom of education and advancement that mean you don’t have to be born into the clan of the local warlord or tyrant in order to come to wealth and power. If our skills and tenacity are equal to the task, we can work in the profession of our choosing.

We have the freedom to worship as we choose, free from being taxed merely for being of one religion or another. Unlike those poor people suffering under the brutal reign of “president” Mugabe, we have the freedom to participate (or not, as we choose) in picking our leaders. And we even have the freedom to not appreciate the freedoms we have!

I also find myself musing on why we have these freedoms, and that freedom (whether social and political, or eternal salvation itself) has never been won without the willingness to sacrifice. Having poked fun at the French in the past, I am grateful for the aid they lent this nation in it’s Revolutionary War.

As citizens of the United States of America, we would do well to remember that our way and state of life would probably not have existed if not for the intervention of another nation. If we purport to live up to the ideals on which this nation was founded–and to honor the cause of freedom itself–I believe this means we must be willing to sacrifice in order to help other nations, other peoples, achieve freedom, because it isn’t something just for Americans.  Just as the French helped us achieve our own freedoms, freedom to strive for excellence and happiness is the birthright of every human being, yet can only exist when we aid our fellows.

And that is another reason I’m proud of our military, humanitarian, and diplomatic interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, where it was recently reported (on a “liberal” news network, no less) that Afghani girls have been attending school since the overthrow of the Taliban. In Iraq, women cried when allowed the right to vote in elections–post-US intervention–and where it was recently reported that an organization of grateful Iraqi women calling themselves the “Daughters of Baghdad” have been providing intelligence for U.S. troops in battle against terrorist insurgents.

Freedom has always required sacrifice and struggle, and proud I am to live in a nation that still counts itself willing to fight for the sake of others. God bless America, and let freedom ring!

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