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What the Fourth Means to You

Patriotic Reflections

Crowd at the Capitol

WHAT JULY FOURTH MEANS TO YOU

Pride in America's Founding Ideals

Many of you wrote about your pride in the tenets on which America was founded. Thank you for allowing us to share some of your responses here.

From: Aleasa Hogate, New Jersey

When I awake on the 4th of July I thank God for allowing me to be born in America. I feel so privileged to live where I can celebrate such a day. Celebrating helps me remember that my own independence was made possible by others who sacrificed so that I can be free.


From: Tammy, New York

The Fourth of July is a time when all who are in America should celebrate our Freedom. Pride in America and Love for our country. I get so emotional when I hear our songs and see our country standing with love and respect. America is "HOME OF THE FREE AND THE BRAVE" Remember those who have fought for our freedom in the past before we were even born to right now when our babies are fighting for us. Celebrate our ability to go where we want, when we want. Woman are of value here. We don't have to live in fear. Thank you for allowing me to share my pride in my country.


From: Bettina10 , New York

The 4th of July truly DOES make me appreciate our continuing commitment to remain a FREE country and to be ever-vigilant of our liberties that we've had and continue to experience. THANK YOU for such a beautiful tribute. It was inspiring to feel such Patriotism and see "We, the People" out in such numbers. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!


From:  Tom Neale, Maryland

My father's family settled in Southern MD in 1636, early English Roman Catholic settlers seeking religious freedom from the Cromwell Roundheads who had overthrown King Charles in Great Britain. Every generation of male Neales has fought for our country: first as British loyalists to the Crown; later as Maryland militia against the Crown; then for the United States throughout our illustrious history. The latest generation of male Neales (my oldest brothers' nephews) fought during the Gulf War I era (1990-1992) for the 82nd Airborne and Army Rangers, respectively.

My family has lived and breathed American patriotism since we landed on our shores. The Founding Fathers' words ring as true today as they did in 1776.

God Bless America, and God Bless our troops who defend our freedom daily across the globe.


From:  A.C. Gray, Virginia

An Ex-Pats View of the 4th — Careers with the Air Force. the American National Red Cross, and U. S. Peace Corps took me all over the world to 86 countries at last count. I was often somewhere else in the world celebrating the American 4th in unique venues. The most memorable was on Guam in 1976, America's Bicentennial. The people of Guam, "where America's Day Begins", raised an American Flag @ 12:01AM, lowered it immediately, put it aboard a Continental Airlines Flight, where it was flown to Washington, DC, and raised on the National Capital. Despite a devastating Typhoon Pamela that blew away much of the real estate, the people of Guam organized a parade that included the whole population, dressed in red, white, and blue...bicycles, tricycles, cars, floats, and bands that began early in the morning and lasted late into the afternoon. My brother, Sam, had been a marine in World War II who helped to liberate Guam from the Japanese. Nowhere in all my travels had I witnessed such a deeply felt gratitude for freedom or a more heartfelt demonstration of patriotism. Thirteen thousand miles from home, I could not have been at better place for the Bicentennial. God Bless the people of Guam and God Bless America!


From:  Tami, Maryland

Inspiring.  I love everything about the United States of America. There is so much greatness in this country. I love the Constitution and Bill of Rights - our leaders were truly inspired back then to formulate our government in the manner that they did. I love all the freedoms that we have. I love how we don't back down from a challenge. I love how we progress, always striving to be better. Sure, we are not perfect, but we try, and that's what counts. I am so grateful for our troops, for my family, for America. God bless America!


From:  Beth Wilson, Arizona

Our Freedom and Our CountryThis day reminds me of many things. It reminds me of our Founding Fathers. The day reminds me of the freedoms we enjoy. It reminds me of the fathers and mothers "yesterday" and today who have made the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. It reminds me that in my own family my Grandmother served in the Coast Guard, and my Mother and other family members worked in factories during WWII for the war effort. I have hope that our country can one day move forward, and become a nation where everyone "comes home again." It reminds me that we should all remember how much we love our country, and "show it" and "celebrate it", not just this one day, but all year long by helping our nation become a better nation and by helping one another.


From:  PJ

Although we celebrate the historic event of our country’s independence, the birth of a new nation, July 4th has also come to represent the freedoms we call human rights that this country was founded upon. Those freedoms were initially restricted to a few and excluded many. But once established they became the beacon for all peoples. The fight for independence continued.... for non-land owners, for African Americans, for women…and it continues today. This country has always held a high regard for the freedoms of individuals, but it is a country formed out of great compromise among the differing points of view of the founding fathers. It grew from community, commitment, and compromise. As we celebrate Independence Day we must continue to question, redefine, and strife toward freedom and independence for ALL people, and to remember the great Indian Nations who lived proud and free in this land long before the new nation was born. Freedom and Justice for all, individual rights and community cooperation, those are difficult and often conflicting ideals. This day is a day to celebrate the great idealism behind those challenging goals.


From:  Christopher Vaughn, Illinois

I am always happy to reflect on how very fortunate I am to live in this country, the United States of America. The 4th of July always reminds me of the *Promise* of America. We truly are the Land of the Free & the home of the Brave. We may not be a "Perfect Union", but we are a great work in progress with true potential to be the GREATEST example of Democracy that the World has ever known. I am proud to call myself an American Citizen.


From:  Robert, North Carolina

This day marks the day that our founding fathers stood up for us to give us the freedom of which we still enjoy today!!!! Without all the people that have and continue to defend this freedom we would not be able to enjoy this day!!!! Also this day means that I am Free!!!!!!!


From:  Raymond Daniel, Texas

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. I don't care about the fireworks or parades (though I have nothing) against them. It's just that they distract from the real meaning of this great day: Freedom.

Every time I go to First Presbyterian Church -- Fort Worth I am grateful that I can go to the place of worship of my choice, not my government's choice.

Every time I speak out critically of my government I am thankful that I live in a country where I can do this without fearing retribution from my government..

Every time I read a newspaper and know that it was written by free men and women (even if I disagree with their opinions) I appreciate the fact that they were able to write their opinions without the approval of the government.

Every time I gather with like-minded people to protest (which I haven't done too often) or just to share ideas I am grateful that I can do so without government interference (except to time, place and manner, of course).

Every time I see the flags that were placed on the caskets of my Uncle Carl and Uncle Boots I am reminded that they fought in a world war so that I (who would not be born for 15 years) could live in the free country that I just described.

Every time I think that my father spent four years of his life in the Air Force (even though it was between wars) so that I could continue to live I am thankful for the sacrifice that he made for his unborn son.

Every year I have a party for my family and friends so that we can celebrate freedom. I hope all of you will celebrate this tomorrow and not just every July Fourth for the rest of your lives, but for every day for the rest of your lives.


From:  Cyndy

a reminder to myself of how lucky i am to be part of a country so great and free!
God Bless America


From:  Troy

Happy Fourth of July everyone! :-D

For me, [this year], the Fourth of July sees the culmination of the promise set forth by the founders as we've a President elected not on the basis of ascriptive traits but on the basis of the person's merits.


From:  Bill, Texas

I can hardly get through the Fourth of July with a dry eye. I am so proud to be an American and I love this land more than ever! Let it forever be a beacon of hope for the entire world. With all of our problems, there is still no where in the world that I would rather be and everyone that I talk to feels the same way! God Bless America!


From:  Ms. J. Isherwood's ELD Students

The Fourth of July signifies our freedom from the King of England. It is when the Decleration of Independence was signed. Our Country was born and free! Today we have the right to be involved in voting for laws and government officials. We have freedom of religion. We celebrate the Fourth of July by having fireworks, picinics, and parades!


From:  Mary Green, Virginia

July 4th means living in a country that was founded by fore fathers who fought and died so that I may have spirited political debates without the fear of reprisal. It means the freedom to speak openly, and worship without fear. It means knowing that my child can grow up to become anything he wishes to be. After living in several other countries I know in my heart this is the best country in the world and I could not be prouder of it or the people that make it up.


From:  Tim Lipka, North Carolina

The Fourth to me means a celebration of the grand experiment of our government. The Fourth is also a time when everyone in the United States is an American and we all share a common ideal: that we are endowed with certain rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


From:  Joey Miller, Minnesota

July 4th is one of my most important days in the year. You think that you don't get gifts but that is not true on the 4th. We as Americans do get gifts and that is the gift of our fathers and their fathers fighting for our freedoms. It is a time when the nation realizes that we are all the same. The fourth is meant to get together and celebrate the birth of this country and its constitution. Lastly, this holiday is about our soldiers over seas and the veterans who have served this great country.


From:  David Frum, Kentucky

The Fourth should spark something much deeper than a day off or celebrations with family. It should kindle a flame of desire to embrace our history (good and bad); motivate involvement to ensure a continuation of the principles that kay the foundation of this country; and it should compel us to reflect...to reflect on what it truly means to be free. Not the superficial freedoms we take for granted every day, but the freedoms granted to us by those who have fought for and died to protect the independence of this great nation.


From:  Robert Maison, New Jersey

The 4th of July means celebrating Freedom for me.  Acknowledging and expressing my appreciation of being born and living in this country.  Thinking about all the freedom we have that we take for granted everyday.  The freedom of doing what I want when I want and with whom I want.  The ability to go anywhere anytime.  The freedom to worship or not  worship whatever I choose without fear of government or individual interference.  The freedom to come and go as I wish without fear of someone blowing me up because they don’t agree with what I do or do not believe in.  We usually have a family picnic and watch the local fireworks.  I fly the Flag and honor it for what it stands for: One nation, with Liberty and Justice for all.


From:  David Tefft, Indiana

As a military retiree, my thoughts may be somewhat different than others.  Yes, I take pride in the fact that I am an American and also was allowed to serve her directly for 20 years.  Spending July 4th overseas will give you a different perspective on what it means to be patriotic.  The resident American community in whatever country you are in seems to pull closer together and solidify around the fact we are uniquely American.  On a different note, I remember the fact that for years the family would gather at some relative’s house to cook out and enjoy the company of those we didn’t get to see often enough and then go en masse to whichever local fireworks display was available.  Finally, and most personally, it means the feeling I get in my throat and heart whenever I see the flag and know it represents the sacrifice of so many patriots so that we all have the right to live as we do.


From: Hal Hadley, Tennessee

Our Bluff City Canoe Club usually meets at the library. Today was special.  We had a picnic at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park in Pavilion #5.  The TV show was super terrific.  I sure missed by not being there.  Glad it was safe.  As far as history goes, I am discovering more history that brings the true spirit of the founding of our nation.  It will be exciting in the future to see the researchers rediscover some of the early events from the 1750s and 1760s that led up to the first skirmish in North Carolina that inspired the northeast to realize we could fight the British.


From:  Karl M. Wagner, Pennsylvania

I would agree with all of those themes posted by fellow citizens.  I am proud of our nation, thought troubled on the current path it is headed.  We must not just talk about how our forefathers started this nation, but take the time to read and understand what their goals were.  We must rekindle the flame of enlightened thinking they started.  We must also look at how we as American’s think differently than European counterparts.  We as a people are a community of individuals and that is what makes us great.  We balance, so delicately, our self-interests and the obligation of allowing the future generations to succeed.  I pray in God’s name that we will continue for thousands of years to come.


From:  Ina S. Land, Maryland

“It was never ‘cool’ to be patriotic, and others laughed when my mother stood wherever she was when the Star Spangled Banner was played, i.e., the movies, during a parade when the flag passed, at a ball game.  I grew up learning not to laugh at my mother but to understand what she was trying to teach me, her only daughter, about the great gift and responsibility that came with being an American.  I tried to impart this to my children, and now to my grandchildren, but I fear that I am the only one who feels goose bumps when I hear the song ‘America.’  My husband is patriotic and feels as I do, but I want our progeny to hold on to this country and to love it as I do.  We may not agree with all that has taken place, but if asked, I would not want to live anywhere else in this world.”


From:  Abby C., Tennessee

“Every year on the 4th of July...I am reminded of the insurmountable odds the founding fathers of this nation faced. They were looking into the eyes of the most powerful empire on the planet, and they still stood strong. The ‘rebels’ were never supposed to last past December of 1776, but even then the American spirit shown through and carried us to victory in 1783. The founders then came together, and although the disagreements were many, they managed to create what has become the longest surviving democratic government in history. I think so many Americans have forgotten the true bravery that everyone involved in the revolution showed daily. From Washington and Jefferson down the individual militia members; they are why we are still a nation today.”


From:  John  R Haelig, Sr., New Jersey

“July 4th is a time for celebration of the founding of our nation. Our community celebrates it by gathering at the site where George Washington first flew the flag of our country on June 14th 1777.   The site was preserved by a non-profit corporation, with a deeded provision that the Declaration of Independence be read each year to a public gathering on July 4th. We will do so.”


From:  Shawn Katzen, Connecticut

"The Fourth of July is the symbol of our Nation's freedom from oppression beginning when our forefathers arrived hundreds of years ago.  Under tyranny of Britain, the colonies fought for their own freedom to make their own independent nation.  They succeeded with the writing of the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution.  With these two documents, that set the tone for this country to be a great nation.  Many have fought and died for this great country and I am proud to have the distinct honor to call myself American."


From:  Wayne Johnson, North Carolina

“This year I will celebrate Independence Day with my own family, my wife and three girls and our extended family as we return to celebrate with our Nation at our Capitol.  I can only hope that they too will have the opportunity to celebrate this most important day for our Nation in a way that will mark their lives and spark their patriotism.”

This year I will celebrate Independence Day with my own family, my wife and three girls and our extended family as we return to celebrate with our Nation at our Capitol.  I can only hope that they too will have the opportunity to celebrate this most important day for our Nation in a way that will mark their lives and spark their patriotism."


From:  Jim Sickora, Ohio

"I like to celebrate the Fourth by reflecting on how close we have come as a society towards our ideals.  We have, indeed, come quite a ways since the days of our Founding Fathers, and we should be proud of that.  Yet, we still have a distance to go.  As a human institution, the United States has made, and is going to make, errors and mistakes along the way.  But, if we take the time to learn from the lessons these problems teach and have the courage to correct them, we will have truly earned the right to be known as a 'superpower nation."  That is the main reason our Constitution was made amendable, because of our human frailties and the determination to overcome them."


From:  Jeromy Rose, Ohio

"To me, the Fourth of July represents a chance for all Americans to reflect on the greatness of our country and the rich historical past we have.  We can celebrate the freedoms we enjoy and it also gives us a day to remember our great forefathers who risked everything to create our great country."