Independence Day

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Burt Ross

It’s strange. I am not an overtly patriotic guy, but with each passing year I look more and more forward to celebrating July 4. I have never hung a flag outside my home, I am not particularly into parades and I am not fond of singing our national anthem, although I do like “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful.”

So how do I demonstrate my ever-increasing patriotism? I don’t. I simply feel that living in this great country of ours is a blessing and one of which I do not take for granted. When I read the newspapers (I am so old I actually still read a newspaper), I can only appreciate what we have, and I cherish it.

So far in 2014, hundreds of young girls were kidnapped in Nigeria; Russian troops annexed Crimea and threatened to take over the rest of Ukraine; the military staged a coup in Thailand; Egypt held a sham trial for hundreds of people and sentenced most of them to death; and so on and so on.

Whereas some African countries have passed laws making homosexual acts a capital offense, our country passed laws throughout much of the land allowing gays to marry. Whereas soccer fans in Spain and Italy routinely throw bananas onto the playing field when a black player kicks the ball, we force an owner to sell his team for making racist comments in a private conversation. Whereas some countries do not allow women to drive a car, we have over 20 women serving in the United States Senate, and more than likely a woman will be a candidate for President in 2016.

I look forward to this Friday. I will sit on my balcony and watch the sky light up in celebration of what we have achieved, just like John Adams envisioned over 200 years ago. And I will be so grateful.