I meant to publish this right after July 4th, but forgot to schedule it! I've updated it a bit and released it today!
First things first: I know several veterans who read my blog. To all of them, thank you for your service. I believe you have a strong claim to the best we have to offer, and I'm sorry for when I fail to deliver that.
(In anticipation of critique, I'm well aware of the differences between Independence Day and Memorial Day, but I'll take any excuse to give gratitude to whom it's due.)
To my readers from college and church who are pacifists and conscientious objectors, I encourage you to take this season to intentionally celebrate the benefits of living in the United States. Give back every way you can, and go out of your way to maintain the peace of our nation and our world. I'm humbled and amazed that I live in a country where so many people with so many radically different understanding of the world can live together in peace.
"Peace?!" you say. "Peace! Do you call our country peaceful?!"
Yes, in fact I do. Within weeks of the United States' Independence Day, I flew in from a foreign country, and I'm soon to leave for another one. I was and will be able to do so with extreme ease. I woke up on the 4th of July in a city that's famous for shootings (another source), violent crime, corruption, more shootings, and some Independence Day chaos. Had breakfast with a new friend. Fried some chicken with some school friends. At the spur of the moment, I watched a movie with friends from multiple continents. The food was plentiful, the laughter came easily, and the love was palpable.
Some call it lucky, but this was more than luck. On my birthday, no matter how bad the year was, I always celebrate. On Christmas, no matter how cold the weather, or poor our income was, we honor each other with visiting, food, and gifts. Likewise, on Independence Day, despite division, violence, and disparity I'm happy to take 24 hours to recognize the fact that we live in a really great place, full of really great people that come in every shape, size, color, and flavor.
We're glad to be here. We're happy to be the most tightly-knit federation of independent states in the word. More importantly, though, we appreciate the people who determine our life experience.
So, happy Independence Day to all my friends and family. Most celebrated with me on July 4th, but others were 12 time-zones away. Some have blue passports, some have green, some have red. Even though this is a holiday only in the United States, it's the United States that enabled and empowered the creation of those friendships, and for that I'm grateful.
God bless America.
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