So, here in the United States today is a very special day, July 4th. It’s the day when we celebrate our freedoms and the founding of our nation. Now, as in every age, political turmoil abounds, voices cry out wanting to be heard, and beliefs and platforms are pushed from every angle. I’m not going to talk about any of that.

There are those who believe the great American experiment has failed. But, I’m not one of them. Our great country certainly has its problems, and I don’t agree with many of the proposed fixes. However, let’s look at the outcome of the experiment. American independence is a very important event in a long chain starting with the Magna Carta on June 15, 1215, and continuing today with the Arab Spring. The spreading of freedom and liberty throughout the world has been slow, marvelous miracle to behold.

From one of the early scenes of the movie Inception:

An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed–fully understood–that sticks. Right in there somewhere.

Freedom is just such an idea. The yearning for it is part of the human psyche. It’s imperative for own happiness and the happiness of the human race. Without it, our progress as a people, as the human family grinds to a halt.

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
Thomas Jefferson

The freedom sought and gained by others may not look exactly like our own. However, the United States has been a shining example of freedom to the rest of the world, showing both its great blessings and terrible pitfalls. And, others have followed its lessons along their own paths to freedom.

We cannot expect that all nations will adopt like systems, for conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
John F. Kennedy

Today we celebrate our freedoms and those who gave them to us. We also celebrate the sacrifices made for us by others. Unfortunately, freedom is not free and is often born of violence.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m grateful for those who have and continue to sacrifice for my freedom. Just as General Peter van Uhm discusses in his TED talk, I long for a day when war has ceased, armies are disbanded, and all are free.

Love and protect freedom. Pray for peace.

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.
Nelson Mandela