While colorful sparks dazzled the night sky, in celebration of independence and democracy in the land of free, disparity outshined the sweet ambiance of liberty.
Troublesome tension in Afghanistan and Honduras, Iran’s fruitless uprisings in demand of democracy, missile show display by North Korea and uncertainties in our own nation, made this Fourth of July more meaningful than a family fun day in the sun.
Contrary to previous years when Fourth of July was simply a just cause for a barbecue and a lazy day by the pool, this year I could not allow myself to let this day pass without observing its significance.
On several occasions, I caught myself speaking of Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and pointing out that our country separated itself from Great Britain and obtained its own independence 183 years ago, this day (July 2, to be exact). My children, being familiar with the difficulties in Iran over the past few weeks, suddenly recognized that the basis of our celebration today is what people in other parts of the world are fighting and dying for.
“Why can’t Iran do the same thing Mommy? Just say we want our freedom and take it,” my 6-year-old said. Her simplicity, yet clear vision, put a smile on my face as I replied, “That is exactly what they have started to do.”
But we all know that freedom does not come easy or quickly. People of Iran attempted a peaceful strategy to change, but they were brutally silenced.
Unfortunately, breaking free of totalitarianism usually involves violence and bloodshed.
Abraham Lincoln praised the founding fathers on how they “brought forth on this continent, a new nation conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” in his prominent Gettysburg Speech on November 19, 1863.
In his speech, Lincoln honored the soldiers killed amongst the 51,000 who became casualties, either killed, injured or captured, in the Gettysburg battle which began on July 1 and ended on July 3, 1863.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vein; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” Lincoln said.
As an American, I am grateful to be living and raising my children within the shadows of democracy. As an Iranian, I pray that those who have lost their lives in Iran in request of freedom have not died in vein.
Democratic states are not free of all imperfection. Currently, the United States faces several issues in need of evaluation and resolution as the government and past presidents have failed the nation and placed her in this era of complexity and distress.
Nonetheless, it must be acknowledged that we, citizens of the United States of America, have the right to scrutinize our government and president without being punished. We have the right to freely interrogate and investigate the actions and decisions of our government without being suppressed. Most importantly, we have the right to replace our president by the vote of the people.
That is what makes America a free land and that is the freedom so many others are in search of.