Today is one of those days for remembering the folks who have made it possible for us to live in this country, and to live freely. My personal thanks go to Lewis Puller, Jr.
Remember to be thankful for our freedoms:
A freely elected government - You may not be thrilled with the current administration, but you had a chance to go and cast your vote. It was not brought to you by a military junta or coup and you have the opportunity to help change it in just a few years if you wish.
Freedom of the press - Again you may not like CNN, or MSNBC or Fox News, but they are free to report what's happening everywhere in this country. We are not kicking journalists out, or stopping them from going out into the streets to report what they see, or telling them what to print or say on the air.
Freedom of speech - You may not like what I say, and I may hate what you say, but we can both say it pretty much wherever and whenever we want.
Freedom of assembly - Meet me anywhere we like to discuss whatever we want, and wear whatever you want - even if you are female.
Freedom to worship whoever, however, wherever or whenever we choose, and the freedom not to worship if that's what we choose.
Freedom to pursue our life, liberty and happiness. Probably the hardest part of this one is figuring out what it is we want to pursue in this life.
Along with these freedoms come some responsibilities, and it often seems like we forget about them. Mostly we are responsible to respect the fact that everyone else has the same rights. We tend to want to stop folks from voicing opinions we don't like, or deny assembly to those who espouse a cause with which we disagree, or try to muzzle the press or those whose opinions differ from ours. Many of us want the freedom to follow our own religious practices, but do not want to respect others in the practice of theirs.
It's a give and take, but most of all it's rights balanced by responsibility. Maybe we need to listen a little more to those with whom we disagree and see if there is some way to find a common ground on which to meet. Happy Independence Day!