As a child, I remember how I loved the way my small hometown celebrated the 4th of July. The celebration alway began with a parade. It was a simple parade, but it was colorful with all sorts of red, white and blue decorations. The clowns danced, the horses pranced and the band played loudly. Everyone turned out for the parade waving all sizes of flags. The Veterans of all wars proudly marched to the beat of the music; the children chased one another along the route, and the spirit of fun and frolic touched everyone.
At church we were given a sermon on the meaning of freedom. We were told how our forefathers and foremothers fought for independence from the oppression of the British. We were reminded that freedom was not free and that we must always guard against losing our freedom.
As an adult, I have worked with people who live under oppressive governments. I sometimes feel that we, in the United States, take our freedom for granted; we don’t value it as much as I believe we should. My heart feels the pain of the people who have to flee their countries in search of freedom. What are they desiring? The things we take for granted: peace, the right to make decisions, the right to work for a better tomorrow, the right to assemble freely, the right to participate in and improve their government.
This 4th of July, this Independence Day, I pray for each of us that we may truly appreciate who we are and what we have. I pray that all people everywhere may someday soon have the freedom we have in our country.
Evangeline Salazar, OSB