fourth of july

Fourth of July

by Amos Smith

Having grown up overseas, I remember going to school one day in Bolivia, seeing tanks rolling through the streets and twelve-year olds brandishing AK-47s. There had been a coup attempt, so the military was much more visible than usual.

Many people take for granted the political and military stability of the United States. They have never seen the other side. One of the great blessings of growing up overseas is that I witnessed the unstable governments, the curfews due to gang violence, the sea of shanties, and the swollen stomachs from malnutrition. Those experiences are seared into my memory and as a result of those experiences, I will never take my American freedoms for granted.

As the Fourth of July nears, I give thanks for colorful figures in our past like Ben Franklin. If it hadn’t been for his diplomacy in France, the war for independence would not have been funded and we would probably be learning British history in schools, among other things. On this Fourth of July I also remember our veterans through the centuries, many of whom paid the ultimate price to preserve our civil society and our democracy.

Happy birthday America!