The good news of the mercury rising, melting ice cream dripping down your chin and diving into the pool quickly come to mind when I think of the 4th of July. Kids are out of school, vacation plans are set and Amazon just delivered the summer reading list. This is one of those topics that requires understanding the bad news before you get to the good news. Seeing the corrosive political rancor that is playing out this political season; I can only imagine the wrangling that was happening 240 years ago as we were in the midst of a revolutionary war with Britain. I have toured the Pentagon in Washington DC and seen military exhibits with mannequins dressed in period war uniforms surrounded by war memorabilia. The cotton and wool uniforms are a long way from the camo and Under Armor of today. No high powered rifles to defeat the enemy, just single shot rifles that required precious time to reload before re-engagement. Most of the deaths were attributable to rampant disease and starvation. Following these sacrifices General George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief, giving up the rights that many wanted to bestow upon him, and retired. This allowed for the development of the imperfect government and freedoms, we have today. This is a tiny snapshot of what went into the independence we will celebrate this weekend. These are the same freedoms that our enemies will try to use against us and they must fail. Our freedom and independence are too dear to trade for fear. Now that we have reviewed the bad news and since our thinking informs our feelings; consider how you feel about your independence? For the past several years, we will watch the fireworks over the Severn River in Annapolis Maryland. The football field will be full of Naval Academy Plebes getting ready to become Navy and Marine Corps officers and defend our independence for the next generation. The music of the Naval Academy Band will echo off the water, bouncing between the boats, competing with the fireworks for the attention of spectators that are free and independent. This will be a marvelous way to express gratitude for those that made this all possible.
What do you think about your freedoms? How does this inform your response to those that think differently than you? What do you see as the non-negotiable? Where are you open to compromise? What memories are you looking forward to making this weekend? What are your July 4th traditions?