Celebrating Independence Day is different for me this year. The day has always been picnicking and watching the fireworks. But on way home from fireworks, encountering other illegal and scary fireworks ended my going to watch any more. However, I still love the picnic.
Coincidentally (or ironically or unfortunately – all or either will suffice), July 4th was the day our dear friend, brother, and confidante died 27 years ago. He was our best man. He hosted the picnics when he was alive. Being such a happy sociable man, we held the tradition to celebrate him on July 4th for several years. That also stopped a few years ago.
This year, I don’t feel any need for a picnic or socializing. The truth is that I haven’t felt it for some years. The last two years, no one could socialize let alone celebrate July 4th because of covid. I can understand the people’s need for a celebration this year.
What does Independence really mean?
Independence is freedom. Freedom from whatever has bound one down; be it another country or person or group or thing. I would like to think that independence equates freedom in the hearts of all, but I’d be wrong. For some, it may denote something different. Share what Independence mean to you in the Comments,
Having freedom in one area and yet bondage in another sort of cancels each other out. Nelson Mandela can attest to that.
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela achieved freedom for his people to the point of incarceration. We know his story. If not, read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
He is not alone. So did M. L. King Jr., Rosa Parks, and several others some known while tons are yet unknown.
The past years, decades, and centuries of condescensions and racial injustices, in America, which culminated in the recent social uprisings, gives many things to ponder on. Thank goodness that President Biden is trying to do his part to mend the divide. I hope he makes a stride. But what happens after four (or max of eight) years? Do we revert to the old? I pray not.
America is a great country. I’m glad and appreciative to be its citizen and can only imagine its jubilation and relief in 1776 when it declared its independence from Britain. Any country that have gotten its freedom from another ought to know how it feels and should never be found wanting in freeing its people and others. Let me know in the Comments if I’m just being naive to think so.
Who do we blame when a country obtains its independence without freedom of all its people? We cannot blame the country. Do we blame its leaders or people? No, neither can we blame all its leaders nor all its people. But, …
What makes the country great are its ideologies and having leaders with vision who were willing to serve. Any country can be great if the two are in place. Yes, we acknowledge that it takes more. The system has to be in place: law, constitution, medical, the people, education, infrastructure, etc. But none of these would be efficient without effective leaders steering the ship. And, no, it’s not the purpose of this ponderous post.
As we celebrate America’s freedom, may we allow the celebration to penetrate deep into our hearts and ask: what role have I played or am playing in the freedom, or lack thereof, of another? For it is when WE ALL truly are free indeed that there will be true independence. This goes to every citizen in the world, and not only Americans.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Happy Freedom Day! Be a champion for freedom for all. Learn to Love unconditionally.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
[Quotes are all Nelson Mandela’s retrieved from the UN website.]