This day is the greatest day of celebration. Americans are beneficiaries of a free heritage, something we may take for granted or we may fret over, but also something that rests deep within the fabric of our being. While we wonder if freedom can endure, people around the world recognize that the American spirit will always be free. While working with international students for years, I found that they think we’re feisty and a little rebellious. Mostly, though, they see our independent spirits and our courage. One young man from India told me that he loves how we all do what we want. Somberly, though, he said that he has never seen more lonely people and he is sad for us.
Perhaps that explains our great love for the renegade. We don’t feel lonely, we feel strong. Like the foreigners, we admire our own individuality and strive to achieve that ideal.
Further, we understand that freedom cannot be taken or even given, it must be achieved. It is an individual quest.
Luckily, while our quests may be singular, we can celebrate together. Our fellowship is rich because it is a product of acceptance, of appreciating what each person’m brings from his quest. Today is the day to celebrate a heritage that built us into individuals. Today is the day to celebrate that while we are different, we are American.
Tomorrow, though, we must continue to protect the sojourner. Tomorrow we must preserve the legacy of the individual, for therein lies the spirit of America.