Independence Day: A Time to Reflect & Champion Unconditional Freedom for All

This July 4th, Americans across the United States and around the world will pause to enjoy a long weekend with family and friends to celebrate America’s 247th birthday and independence from Great Britain in 1776.

While the beloved patriotic summer holiday will no doubt be filled with hot dogs, fireworks, and backyard gatherings to commemorate America’s birthday, it’s an excellent time for us all to pause and reflect on the unparalleled freedom we enjoy and often take for granted.

The United States of America has long been a symbol and beacon of freedom, hope, and opportunity for immigrants seeking a better life. A country founded on the core belief that all humans are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights — among those being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“The American Dream” remains a goal for so many people around the world and is fundamentally what built this country; America was founded and is fueled by immigrants hungry for the security, freedom, and opportunity the United States of America symbolizes and offers.

As a descendant of a Greek immigrant married to a descendant of Polish and Italian immigrants, I’m fortunate to have an intimate understanding of this desire. My immediate family is the direct result of the pursuit of the “American Dream,” and I’ve always maintained immense pride and gratitude for that fact. It means enough to me that as a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, I took an oath to protect and defend that freedom at any cost.

However, despite America’s 247 years of progress, there are continuous threats to that freedom, both internal and external to our country. Looking around the world, the current events in Ukraine are a stark reminder that the security and safety that we enjoy in America are not inherently available to others. Inside our own borders, and despite nearly 250 years of progress, there is also work to be done to ensure everyone enjoys those freedoms equally.

As we set out to celebrate the July 4th holiday, let’s all pause and take time for a moment of gratitude for the unparalleled freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America.

With July 4th arriving on the heels of Pride month and Juneteenth, each residing on the calendar just two weeks apart, it is “the season” for us all to take pride in the progress we’ve made and the opportunity to consider how we can protect, champion and accelerate that progress to ensure that every human is provided truly unconditional inclusion, equality, and freedom.

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