Today Americans celebrate our Independence Day. After the last year of pandemic lock down and justice reform protests, the conversations around backyard parties will be different. I hope there are discussions about how we see our country, and the directions we want to take going forward. It’s a time for food, fireworks, and families. But it should also be a time for sharing how we feel about America.
I’ve always faced a patriotic paradox. On the one hand I served the Republic in uniform for ten years, I gave my youth and health to defend America. On the other hand, America has been guilty of a long list of crimes against humanity. Including genocide against indigenous Americans, slavery, nuclear war against Japan, and institutional discrimination. I have to reconcile my love for America with my hatred of these sins against humanity (some of which are ongoing).
Today is a bittersweet holiday for me. Our family has a full day planned, grilling, fireworks, swimming (once the sun goes down for me), and a bonfire with those people we love most. We’ve had the same kind of celebration for over a decade, and I look forward to it every year.
Last year was different with the lockdown, but I hope this year will be a return to the crowd of friends and family from years past. Not everyone is so lucky, fewer of our friends and family than I care to think about won’t celebrate with us ever again.
So hold your loved ones close. Love them while you’re able. But never forget how America became the country we know today. Happy 4th of July!