01 Jul So Many Reasons to Celebrate this 4th of July
On Saturday, we celebrate the 4th of July—time for fireworks, barbecues, parades–and giving thanks
I’ve traveled enough to know that Americans don’t necessarily have a corner on quality of life. The French and other cultures enjoy short workweeks and a month of vacation every year. We work too hard and often don’t know how to enjoy ourselves. Something so simple as getting together with friends becomes a calendaring exercise. For some, the 4th of July is just another day off work.
But I believe there’s a streak of patriotism in even the most jaded Americans
There are situations that never fail to give me a rush of pride and gratitude for the freedoms that we enjoy—or the people who helped provide them.
- The one that never fails to get me. Standing up to sing The National Anthem at Giants games at AT&T Park—42,000+ people peacefully united in their love of baseball. The line about “the land of the free and the home of the brave”–I get a lump in my throat every time.
- Pursuit of the American Dream never fails to stir me. At last year’s 4th of July celebration, I sat at a table with an Iranian family who fled political persecution during the fall of the Shah and the rise of the Ayatollah. It’s a familiar tale: they came to the US with hardly more than the clothes on their back. A family of privileged intellectuals in Iran, their first home was with their brother in Sacramento—five people in one room. They found minimum wage jobs, worked hard and sent their kids to college.
- My father, a medic in WWII. He must have seen unimaginable things. Yet he never—ever—spoke of the war or the battlefield. He came home, got married, started a business and a family and got on with his life.
- Terror in the Middle East. Celebrate the freedom from torture and mistreatment, the freedom to gather and protest without fear of recrimination.
- Achieving business success. The spirit of entrepreneurism was born right here in America and nowhere has it thrived as here in our own backyard. Starting and growing a business–this opportunity simply does not exist in other countries.
- Freedom to marry. I just did a little research, and there are 79 countries around the world in which homosexuality is illegal. Here in the US, just in time for the 4th of July, everyone now has the right to marry, regardless of sex. In the words of President Obama: “We’ve made our union a little more perfect.”