Every country in the world has a 4th of July, but in America, we celebrate it as Independence Day. The day our founding fathers drew a line in the sand and said, no more! We will make our future as our own nation, our own country providing freedoms no country has offered their people in the history of the world. Men went to war so we could have that freedom. Centuries later and many wars later, we still want to protect those freedoms provided for us some 240 years ago. It’s getting harder. Wars are just as ugly. The definitions of freedom are getting skewed.
This weekend like many churches, ours held a special music program. It was all the songs that celebrate our free country. I stood in a sanctuary with 6,000 others singing about being a proud American. I am proud. We are a blessed nation. And I’m thankful for the millions of soldiers who chose to fight and continue today to defend our boarders and freedoms.
I heard the story of one veteran who was watching someone burn an American flag in protest. He said that everything in him wanted to stop the flag burning, but he was reminded that whether or not he agreed with burning a flag, he fought for that other person to have that freedom. The veteran didn’t understand why the protester did it, but he agreed in the freedom.
Being a proud American isn’t a political decision. It is a decision of citizenship. To live within our boarders, by our laws and participate in a community of people. You raise a family here, work and contribute to the greater good. Within this framework there are hundreds of choices we get to make — preferences on the kind of work, relationships and life we want as individuals.
So while you are grilling out, or playing yard games, look over at your neighbor doing the same thing. They may likely not share your faith, your lifestyle, or your skin tone. Give him a smile and a wave or a little head nod. In that moment you are both just Americans, celebrating freedom.
Happy Independence Day.