It is the 4th of July, and on this day in 1776 our forefathers decided it was better to die fighting for our freedom than live in tyranny. It was on this day that they declared that all people are created equal…that every individual has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Within those words, the founding fathers declared that every individual matters. It was this concept that united a distinct people to form the United States of America. It was on this day that the American people stood up and declared that all people have a right to be free.
It was from these humble beginnings that we the people understood that eternal vigilance is the price we pay for our liberty. Vigilance is the price of freedom. Since this time, we the people have sent our fathers, mothers, sons and daughters to protect the torch of freedom, both at home and overseas. The U.S. has sent many young men and women to fight in foreign lands but has never asked for any more land than is enough in which to bury those who did not return. Some have thanked us…some of have spit on us, but none can deny the impact that we have had on the freedom of every individual in the world. Even those who spit on us know that it is our respect for their individual freedom to do so that provides them liberty.
On this day, I give thanks to every man and woman, past and present, that has laid down life to protect my freedoms or fight for the individual freedom of a stranger in a foreign land. We can never do justice to their sacrifice.
It was on a recent trip to Washington D.C. to visit my state representatives and attend an IStand Conference for abducted children that I was fortunate enough to visit the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial (among others). It was there, I saw a quote which impressed upon me the importance of our vigilance towards liberty. In a Birmingham jail house in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr wrote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” How many of us here, today, are willing to go to jail, because we believe that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. History tells us that we all would embrace that belief, but Martin Luther King Jr actually made a sacrifice so that we could all stand stronger…just as each of the 56 founding fathers faced death so that we could all experience a life of freedom.
My children are detained in New Zealand. They are not allowed to leave for any reason…they are denied the ability to be with their family…they are denied access to their nationality and to be with those that they identify with…all while the NZ Court states, “I do not consider cultural and heritage issues to be of very significant weight…” and “Their [my children’s] more general American heritage can be preserved even if they are not living in the United States.” My children, like thousands of other children throughout the world, are not free. Every day, their rights are quashed and ignored for no other reason than…they are children.
It is my hope that today you all will cherish the family and friends around you. Hug them, and let them know you love them. Appreciate your individual freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Today, we give thanks, because tomorrow we will do what we American’s do best. We will unite and fight for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves.
The above dedication contains material from many historic people and documents…from the Founding Fathers to Bob Marley to Martin Luther King to Colin Powell…all greater people than I. Give thanks to their beliefs and dedication to the American Dream.