This year the 4th of July really snuck up on me. A coworker had to remind me on Monday that not only was it this weekend but we also had Friday off as a holiday. I had completely forgotten! As such, I really had nothing planned for today. And I have to admit it has been very good so far. I got sleep in, read my book, had a great workout, and I still have most of the afternoon and tonight. Plus tomorrow I have a barbeque to attend, and that means I get to bake! Y’all know by now that I love to bake and will use any excuse to do so.

But I find myself thinking that lazy mornings and sales aren’t really what this holiday should be about. Behind the fireworks and half priced items there is a much more inspiration meaning to the day. After all, it is INDEPENDENCE day. A day to remember why the United States of America has the slogan, “land of the free, home of the brave”. Those aren’t just some random words thrown together. Our founding fathers and the men and women who fought for nationhood lived it. And made it so that we as Americans today enjoy freedoms and rights that many around the world do not. I am not saying our country and laws are perfect, but I am saying there are many things I am proud of as an American.

Proud because we have bodies like the Supreme Court to help protect citizens and keep them from being denied their rights. Like with the recent ruling striking down laws making gay marriage illegal. I cannot remember a time I was more proud with how our system worked. While the decision took longer than I would have liked, the timing could not have been more perfect. Pride festivals this year had much more to celebrate.

Proud because we have freedom of speech, even if that speech is unpopular. There have been countless times I wish that someone would just learn to shut up. But then I stop and think, they probably think that about me. And yet, here I am able to say what I will and voice any and all of my opinions. I have the freedom to choose to listen to them, to debate them, or to simply ignore them. And they can do the same. Words and ideas are the most powerful weapon of all, for they can spread beyond borders and move as fast as wildfire. It is that very freedom of speech that brings up debates, debates that can change your world and life for the good. The possibility of that happening is why, even though there are those who spew hatred and spread misinformation, I cherish this freedom most of all.

So this year in the midst of my own celebrations, I would like to make a toast to the people who made our country possible from founding fathers to every day citizens to those who serve in the military!

Love and patriotism,

Betty

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