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What the Fourth Means to You

Patriotic Reflections

diverse crowd

WHAT JULY FOURTH MEANS TO YOU

Celebrating Diversity

Many of you wrote about your gratitude for the diversity of our great nation. Thank you for allowing us to share some of your responses here.

From:  Mary Sklavos, New York

I was born of Greek immigrant parents. My father came through Ellis Island. My parents left Europe before World War II. I am the last of four daughters. I was born On July 4, 1948. I later became a history teacher of bilingual students. I proudly taught the history of this country. I currently am retired and travel this country and the world I am multi-lingual. I speak English, Greek, French and Spanish. This year I have decided to visit the nation's capital for Independence Day and for my birthday. God Bless America. I am greatly looking forward to celebrating two birthdays on July 4th in our nation's capital.

From:  Mary Kozy, Illinois

Watching A Capitol Fourth has become a tradition in our home – it makes us proud, moved, joyful – we love the variety and diversity of America. thank you.


From:  Donna, California

I am always reminded of the amazing opportunities available in our great country. As a woman, and mother of daughters, there are very few places in the world, even today where there are so many opportunities for women. I am proud to be an American Woman with an education and career as well as a family and daughters of my own to pass these opportunities to.


From:  An American Student, Florida

The Fourth of July, to me, is more than a celebration. It's the freedom my Grandmother and her family found when they came to this country as immigrants. It's America’s past, present, and future contention with specific malicious powers of the world that dare to challenge that freedom which every being has the right to. The Fourth of July is more than writing your name in the night sky with a sparkler, eating more relish in one day than you have in a year, or splashing in a pool with family and friends. To me, the Fourth of July will always be a symbol of the freedom men and woman who have strove to retain over the years of this country's history. It even means to post these comments, without fear of Government Punishment or physical opposition. To live in this beautiful Country is an amazing privilege, and I pray that we may never take that privilege for granite, that we'll be willing to share that freedom with every person who seeks it, and that God may bless America with wisdom, freedom, and vitality, forever.
Happy 4th of July! 


From:  Diana Nikkolos, New York

The 4th of July is a day when hope meets and unites humanity.  My father was an immigrant – my mother – my husband ... all of us are related to an immigrant.  We celebrate by viewing the most glorious view of the fireworks from Long Island City, Queens.  Why is it so special?  The faces we see are the faces of the USA – all different yet all the same – yes!  Americans!  We gather with the neighbors whose names we do not “know”.  We sing together all the patriotic songs we do know.  Someone I don’t “know” passes out the song lyrics.  I solo “America the Beautiful” for people I don’t “know” just because they ask, and because I have that blessing of a voice.  My husband, also an immigrant, takes spectacular photography and plays chess with others – some who can pronounce his name and some who cannot.  This is my America – a family of people related by hope, by liberty, by justice for all.


From:  Gary L. Thomas, Maryland

I look forward to seeing the annual celebration because it's a time for Americans to reflect on the greatness of the country.  From its start in the 1700's to the present, this is a great country.  When you reflect or think that through those years, the Revolutionary War to obtain independence from England, the years of slavery, the Civil War, the period of time that saw the abolishment of slavery, World Wars I and II, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, etc., you just have to feel good that even though we've had some good times, and yes some bad times, despite all of that the spirit of the American people's desire for harmony and justice, overall, trumps all of our shortcomings.  It makes me feel a connection to my fellow man. I'm black and he or she may be of another racial group, and yet I feel nothing but brotherhood for them.  All these things, acknowledgements, and observations, make me feel good about living in a land where I'm free and that most people I encounter just want to get along and live in harmony with one another.  The bottom line is, simply stated, there are more people of good will than of ill will in America, and that makes me proud to be American.  Is this a great country? YOU BET!!!


From:  Phyllis Mayberg, California

History and especially the history of the United States has always been interesting to me.  My grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1913, with the exception of one grandfather, who arrived in the early 1900's.  Knowing that they came here to escape anti-Semitism, I realized that I was fortunate and privileged to be born in the U.S.  My mother spoke often about the two trips that her mother made and how my grandmother taught herself to read and write English. Although I grew up in Monticello, New York, I often visited New York City with my parents who were born in the Bronx, to visit my grandparents and aunts, uncles, and cousins. I enjoyed learning about the history of New York City and the tales of the Dutch settlers and cobblestone streets.  I have vivid memories of my first trip to the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Our family vacations included visits to historic sites, i.e., Hyde Park and the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga, Lake George, Newburgh, West Point, the Hudson River Valley, Washington, D.C., and Gettysburg.  When I was twenty years old, I sailed to Europe on The France.  No one in my family had been to Europe since my grandparents arrived. Sailing out of New York past the Statue of Liberty  made an impression that has never left.  On the Fourth of July, I pause to remember all of the individuals who risked so much to create a new country and to provide a home for so many.  I love being part of the continuing story of the United States.


From:  Rick Varner, Florida

The Fourth of July reminds us of all that is right with America and “We the People.”  The Fourth of July is about “family,” mine, yours and all American’s, protected by the rights and freedoms of this great country.  It is a time for Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs to come together and live the dreams of our fore fathers, united under one nation with a voice in our future and that of our children.  Even if the celebration is but a few moments in time, each year for this one day in July we truly are ‘We the People.


From:  Denise Rachel, Virginia

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday because it doesn’t matter what type of American you are, man, woman, child, Democrat, Republican, black, white, Indian, Asian, Hispanic, European or Middle Eastern in origin, we all come together to celebrate in the United States as ’one.’  I wish we could celebrate this holiday everyday so there would be more peace on Earth.


From:  David Purdy, Colorado

In a recent sermon, a minister in our Church observed that the Fourth of July is a time for all Americans to share that bond of nationality, no matter where your ancestors came from.  Once you are an American, you have the right to celebrate the Fourth any way you want (long as it's legal.)  God bless America.  Looks like he did.


From:  Eileen McVey, Maryland

Fourth of July reminds me that I am free to be different from everyone else, free to speak my mind about these differences and free to accept and respect the differences in others.