July 4th

July 4th is about freedom and it is also about gratitude. When we can walk into a supermarket and purchase any of the choices, that’s freedom. When we can travel anywhere we want, anytime we want, that’s freedom. When people of different colors and beliefs can exchange a public kiss, that’s freedom. When we can watch our children go off to college instead of being hauled away for involuntary armed service, that’s freedom. When we can walk into a Fifth Avenue boutique as easily as we walk into a neighborhood bodega, that’s freedom.

July 4th is about looking around at all the freedoms you have and being grateful. It’s about looking into your mind at all your dreams and knowing that every single one of them is possible because of where you live. Yes, our service men and women protect our freedoms but so do the courts and the ballot boxes and the teachers and the police and the elected officials but the most important figure in this country’s freedom is you. Yes, you are more important than anyone out there. You see, without your desire for freedom, there’s nothing to fight for. Without your desire for a richer, fuller life for you and your family and friends, there’s nothing to protect. Without your wanting America to be better, there’s no reason to struggle to find a better way.

For 364 days you can argue about what is right or wrong with this country but today, this one day, July 4th, regard only what is right with her. Like a one day fast, take a break from the ordinary. Take the time to see only the good, see only the richness, see only the possibilities, see only the joy, see the fertility that surrounds you. When you do that, gratitude naturally springs forth. We do have something to protect and celebrate and thank God there are others who are willing to do that with AND for us. Celebrate a grateful 4th! It might just positively affect your other 364 days.

(c)2011 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


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