We’re entering what should be one of the most joyful times of the year. As you likely know well, the Fourth of July is approaching quickly. There is no doubt, in our current situation families are fatigued, ready to pack the car for vacation and visit with family and friends. This time of the year is often one where people travel far and wide to reunite with loved ones, celebrate America’s endless spirit of independence, and enjoy Holiday food combinations.
I myself share in this fatigue that I cannot be with all of my friends and loved ones in the way which is typical. I also see that we may have taken these usual holiday gatherings for granted, but we need to be careful so as to not let the living spirit of American independence become reliant on good food (not to be confused with healthy food), fireworks, tailgates and lawn chairs, as fun as those things can be.
For the past few decades, the American people have been stuck in a repetitive, albeit exciting rut, where the contemplation of what it has cost for us to be able to enjoy our freedoms often runs second to those other exciting activities.
I think that this year, where family meetings often consist of Zoom and Facetime calls, we can afford to read more about what exactly it means to be free.
There is no better time than now to remind ourselves that regardless of what goes on in the world, we remain independent to a degree that many of our ancestors fought, suffered and died for, and thus none of our liberties should be taken for granted.
Let us remember the great sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, that 405,000 Americans made to protect our freedom in World War II. Let us also remember the 116,516 American soldiers who died in World War I, and the countless other conflicts in which we lost friends and loved ones for the sake of freedom.
On July 4, we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which turned out to be much more than simply putting pen to paper. It ultimately cut the States’ ties to the English Monarch, George III, thus setting the stage for a hard-fought battle that would give us the many freedoms that we still have to this day.
It takes a very strong and well-formed mindset of patriotism to be able to celebrate our nation’s independence in an exciting and all-encompassing way for 244 years in a row.
As an aside, I think that there is no better example of the “free lifestyle” than being able to drive your own car freely to a pool, a golf course, a restaurant, or a yacht club. If you enjoy those aspects of living in Lake Forest, you can thank the men and women who made sure that you can roam about freely; while you as a resident can use these amenities, they came at a great cost -- one which we should never forget. Freedom is not free. That being said, we should do our absolute best to ensure that the heavy sacrifices do not go to waste. Enjoy your access to what Lake Forest has to offer you, and don’t forget what it took for that to be made available. We should make use of what has been gifted to us, what has been handed down to us from generation to generation: freedom.
So wherever you may be reading this, or however much you might miss the festivities, or however far from family you might be, let us wish our great nation a very happy, free, and independent 244th birthday.