I know the world is waiting with “breath that is baited” for this inaugural edition of “Reflections…by Sarah,” so I won’t keep you waiting any longer. …just kidding… but, as we close out this month in which we celebrate our independence, here are some reflections of freedom…and also some pictures of our West Palm 4th of July Celebration.
In a speech to Congress on January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt described an ideal world in which all of its citizens would enjoy what he called the four essential human freedoms...Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom to worship, Freedom from want, and Freedom from fear. (Click here to read the speech in its entirety.) I was reminded of these four freedoms during our recent trip to Washington D.C. and the F.D.R. Memorial, as well as during my recent trip with family to Harry Truman's "Little White House" in Key West, FL where I saw the Norman Rockwell depictions of the freedoms.
Watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July, I found myself thankful that we, as a society, have identified and fought to provide these four freedoms to all of our citizens. I am proud that we can say or write anything we want, even to speak out against the government, without persecution. I am proud that the United States allows and welcomes people of different faiths to worship within her borders. I am proud that we have developed policy and programs to stop hunger, decrease unemployment, provide free public education, and provide affordable health care (as flawed as these programs may be). And I am thankful for the inconvenience of being searched and questioned when I travel or enter public buildings, because this means that my country has labeled my safety as important.
I realize as I write this that we do not live in a utopia nor is it perceived as such, and I willingly admit that our country, her history, and her actions are flawed and laced with mistakes. But when Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," I don't think the only thing he was referring to was a strong military. I think he was calling each of us to be vigilant in protecting our freedoms for which men and women have sacrificed their lives…whether they be threatened by a foreign enemy or by our own local, state, and federal governments. I think Jefferson was calling us to question our government, to propose new solutions, to run for office, to vote for our leaders, to continually be a part of that ingenious system of checks and balances that seems to have kept our country strong. We cannot let the voice of our frustrations be the end of our patriotic involvement.
Happy Belated 4th, from West Palm Beach!