Having lived in a totalitarian communist state for a year, there are few days that go by without my being grateful for living in a country which not only respects but enshrines individual liberty. Today I missed the fireworks, as I was traveling home from vacation in Florida, but the very fact that I could go to Florida, and travel home, on my own volition, at whatever time I chose, is something to appreciate. My Chinese friends were not able to do such a thing... if they wanted to take a vacation it had to be approved, their travel plans had to be approved, by a variety of officials. Even foreigners living in China had to have travel plans approved at a central office. So even though I missed the fireworks, I'm grateful that I was able to choose to miss them. That I was able to choose in agreement with my husband to move to Cincinnati. That he could choose to take a job that pleased him. And that I could choose to take jobs that pleased me , and to work from home to be able to be with my kids as pleased our family.
Such things as we take for granted were denied to my Chinese friends. I only lived under that system for a year, many years ago, but the lesson is one I remember -- and thank God for -- nearly every day.
Happy Fourth of July! No matter what criticisms I have of my government's foreign policy, the Patriot Act, and the eroding of civil rights and liberties, it is still an incredible country, and today is still a day to celebrate.