I’ll be taking Monday, the 4th of July off, as I do every year. For us, it’s more than a simple declaration of freedom; more than a historical event. Rebecca and I view the 4th of July as a time to remember the sacrifices of the past, the issues of the present, and the direction our country is moving in the future. Every country in history has had problems—the people of the United States enjoy a nearly unparalleled level of freedom that has been hard won by citizens in the past. Even so, we have problems that should be addressed by the people who are the best position to handle the job—every citizen of this country.
One of the issues I struggle with constantly is the balance between security and freedom. After 9/11 our country starting viewing security with fresh eyes to the extent that our freedoms have been seriously eroded. When I read about the TSA requiring a 95 year old woman dying of leukemia to remove her diaper for inspection, I have to think that we’ve gone too far. Even the later CNN article makes it plain that the TSA is out of control. The people in charge actually approved of this action? I read five or six different articles online and get the idea that there is some confusion over the precise reason that the diaper was removed, but the fact that it was removed at all is certainly beyond the need for security. I’m pretty sure I don’t have much to fear from a 95 year old leukemia patient. Certainly, the incident gives me pause about getting on a plane anytime soon. Still, the 4th is a time of celebration and I don’t mean to make this post a diatribe on the shortcomings of the TSA. They do have a tough job. The point I’m trying to make is that you do need to think about your freedom and what it means to you. The 4th is an excellent time to do just that.
Of course, it’s not all about considering the past, present, or future. Sometimes you need to sit back and enjoy the freedom; otherwise, there is no point in having it. Saturday night is time for our town’s fireworks display. Rebecca and I will be there as always seeing the spectacular. We have quite a show and many people from other towns come to visit. What makes our fireworks display special is that the volunteer fire department puts it on using donations from the entire town. That’s right—the entire town collects cans and donates monetarily to see a grand night of fireworks each year.
There are many other events that happen this time of year too. For example, if you’re into gardening, you can take the garden walk Saturday morning. We enjoy a lot of opportunities for outside activities, including my favorite, fishing. Think small town and lots of people getting together simply because they like each other (or at least tolerate each other enough). For us, freedom is all about enjoying the natural surroundings and the friends that a small town can provide.
I hope that you choose to enjoy the 4th of July. If you don’t know much about the history behind this event, take a little time to check out a video or at least read a bit about it. Your freedom is a gift from those who came before. Once lost, you can’t buy freedom at any price, it must be earned—often with a significant loss of life. It’s our responsibility to ensure that our children will be able to enjoy this amazing holiday. So, while you’re watching the fireworks display, take a little time to think about what you can do to preserve the freedom we celebrate.