Today I am grateful for the rights and freedoms I inherited when I was born on American soil. I am also grateful that I have individual freedom from alcoholism when I work on daily recovery.
From July 4, 1776 to July 4, 2016 totals 240 years. When our forefathers took the bold step of declaring independence from Great Britain all of those years ago, could anyone have guessed where our nation would go? Could anyone guess where the United States of America would be today?
I have posed two rhetorical questions knowing that 240 different citizens would answer those questions in 240 different ways. Some would focus on the superpower status we grew into and the cherished freedom that still drives us. Others would focus on what we gained, then lost, and how we are floundering in our political, social, and economic affairs as a nation.
How would I answer these questions? I would point to the civil rights victories that have been achieved and I would point to our tenacity to keep our nation safe and secure. I would share concern about social issues that continue to be divisive and about the income gap that still leaves a few with the most wealth and many struggling to live comfortably.
And then I would finish with this. Doing my part. My voice and my vote matter. I exercise them. My daily actions matter more though. I live in deep gratitude for the freedom I have and for all those who gave their lives and those who continue to put their lives on the line for the rest of us to remain free.
I strive to live with a tolerant and accepting attitude and to look for the similarities among us, rather than focus on the differences that separate us. I remind myself that if I am proud to be an American, I bet that person in front of me in line is too. Common ground as a starting point.