Tomorrow in America we will gather for family cook-outs, fireworks displays, and picnics. From BFE at the Civic Center to the Vinoy Park folks will mingle with a beer, a soda and families and friends will embrace to enjoy a day off. There will huge 4th of July sales for everything conceivable in an effort to empty full warehouses. The word Independence (capitalized for a reason) will be splashed wherever human eyes can see it. When was the last time you thought about the word? I mean really thought about it.
Independence: "not influenced or controlled by others" is the general definition. Imagine that. Today across the world there 35 major conflicts with 3 billion people being influenced or controlled by others. People whose lives have been shattered, families separated, normal routine schedules eliminated resulting in danger, physical threats, loss of belongings and personal wealth and even death. There are refugee camps all over some continents holding the displaced and abandoned. In the Sudan babies will die of hunger, in Ghana people will die of unsafe sanitation. In Pakistan children will be sold to pay off debts, and in Thailand 8 year-old girls sold to sex profiteers. Slavery is still big business in all parts the world.
When you arise tomorrow and make your coffee you can be assured your water will work. When you walk out to check on the grill in the garage you likely won't see military trucks with their guns aimed at you. When you go to the nearest grocery store you will know that anything you need for that big party bash will be well stocked and abundant. Your guests will arrive and leave without going through checkpoints or fear hijacking from roving gangs. That it my idea of Independence. All too often we take for granted the freedoms we enjoy, assuming that what we have is a common experience. But for 3 billion fear and hunger is their common experience. Enjoy the 4th of July but also remember that running water, that convenience store, and the smiles on all those faces. It is a rare and valuable thing - a little more than half of every soul alive today enjoys true Independence.