As we embark upon the July Fourth holiday weekend, I am reminded of what this time means to me.
I spent many years volunteering for the USO and the Fourth of July was filled with activities to not only celebrate the birthday of our country, but to honor and thank our service men and women – and their families.
The Fourth of July involved being on the Boston harbor and in the city, crowds of tourists and natives alike, all coming together to celebrate. Fireworks and patriotic salutes. U.S. Naval ships docking for the weekend. Parades and bands.
I couldn’t have imagined being anywhere else.
My life looks much different now. My volunteerism is closer to home since I’ve left the city and my celebrations quiet and small.
But what hasn’t changed is the meaning of this holiday. The birth of our country. The pride and honor, the love and respect I hold in my heart for this great nation. The sacrifices men, women and families have made to protect our freedoms – then and now.
I am proud to be an American, and I am saddened by what I see happening today. We cannot and should not erase our past. It happened. And there were some horrific and grotesque acts committed against specific groups of people.
We don’t condone it. We don’t excuse it. And we are disgusted by it.
But let us learn from it and not allow the few who want to divide us and keep alive racism and fuel hate to destroy this beautiful home of the brave, land of the free.
May we lead by example, love one another and remain one nation, under God (for historical preservation), indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.
Happy birthday, America!