Editorial: Happy birthday America

Today is for cookouts, fireworks and, most of all, celebrating freedom.

It’s a day to “hear America singing,” to borrow from Walt Whitman. “Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,” the poet added.

The pandemic forced us to shelter from a deadly virus, but now we’re climbing out of lockdowns and isolation. That’s why this Fourth of July is more meaningful than it has ever been since World War II.

Today we honor the sacrifices made along the way. Some of us will work, others will help a family member or a friend, and many will be on guard on the front lines of our freedom.

The world will be watching as we celebrate. That’s because this grand experiment, flawed as it can be, is the best humanity has to offer. It’s time to embrace that independence.

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt.

We’ve earned this day. We’ve fought for it and continue to do so. The headlines force us to be on guard.

The U.S. military has left Bagram Airfield, the epicenter of the war to oust the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaida terrorists.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has reaffirmed a strong denial of U.N. experts’ claims that Russian military instructors were involved in killing civilians and looting in the Central African Republic.

Ethiopia’s government rejected accusations that it’s trying to “suffocate” the people of Tigray by denying them urgently needed food and other aid.

That’s just a snapshot. Iran, North Korea, China and the Delta variant just add to the list of worries. Back home it’s defunding the police and political polarization. If you’re not left, you’re wrong.

That’s not what being free is all about.

They say it’s bad form to talk politics or religion at social gatherings, maybe that’s old thinking. Maybe it’s time to bring back a healthy debate about who we are as Americans. We’re not about hate, but opportunity.

Happy birthday, America.

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