We do not celebrate July 4th for Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum's mission to save the planet. We do not celebrate July 4th because we like parades and sparkly things in the sky. In fact, I could list a lot of invalid reasons for celebrating July 4th in America. Yet, it is important to keep our eyes on the truth and the origin.
This country has struggled both internally and with foreign issues. We have been verbally assaulted by leaders of other countries, and attacked by terrorists. America has been bashed by its own citizens as well as citizens of countries to which it provides aid. Starting from so few, we have become a nation of millions.
I cannot explain why Americans hate their country. I cannot explain why other countries and their citizens hate us. I'm sure that there are some valid reasons as well as plenty of stupid ones. All in all, we are still here. We are self-ruling. We are a superpower. The oppressed come to America to find sanctuary.
If you are an American and you are reading this, be proud of your origin. Be proud of your heritage. Be proud of those who gave their lives so that you might one day even exist. Be proud of those who took stands against tyranny so that you might be free to speak your mind. Be proud of those who survived that first year in a new land, holding on so that their ancestors might worship and believe as they saw fit.
If you are not an American and you are reading this, know that we are a strong people. Know that we have struggled and overcome. Know that we value peace and community, but are willing to fight to protect our own. Know that we live with open minds, but also speak out against what is wrong. Know that the vast majority of us are descended from immigrants, and that we all seek something better.
Americans may be considered a proud people, and this could be thought of as a bad thing. Perhaps it is. Yet we do have so much to be proud of, and so much for which to be grateful.
Happy Independence Day!