Do you ever stop and think what the Fourth of July is really all about?
While we were enjoying our BBQs, lounging at the beach, sipping on a drink or lighting fireworks this Independence Day, we realized the meaning of this holiday, like many others, can be forgotten when we’re busy trying to have a good time.
Our nation’s founders fought for our freedom.
Following the American Revolution, the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, and with that, came a string of unalienable rights that we now mark with patriotic displays on July 4, to symbolize our pride and celebration of this freedom.
Reflecting on what it means, and why we’re honored to live in this country, several things came to mind.
Freedom of speech is something that Americans can take for granted. The ability to express opinions, either as an individual or as part of the media, is essential to the backbone of our country.
Two in our editorial department have backgrounds that extend beyond our borders.
One, a first-generation American, was raised with a particular appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy. Both her parents emigrated from Eastern Europe as children in the 1920s and were raised in New York. They faced challenges including learning a new language and adapting to American ways, but in America there was no tsar, conscripting male heads of households or, in retrospect, no dictator on the rise who would eventually annihilate most of the Jews left behind in Eastern Europe. The American Dream became a reality for her parents.
Another editorial staffer’s father moved to this country from Colombia when he was in his 20s. Hearing about his background, she loves that he was able to prosper in this country — not just survive — but pursue his dream job of teaching and find a career where he is still excited to go to work and see his students 30 years later. As the daughter of an immigrant, she’s proud to be a part of the country that welcomed her dad and let him follow his dream.
While we look back on what we were founded on, and why this country is unique in the freedoms it gives us, we can also look ahead, to what we want it to be. We can be thankful for what we have, and for what America stands for, but also strive to continue to make this country an even better place than it was when we became a new nation on Independence Day.