Thursday, July 4, 2013


Lady Liberty.
Standing as a beacon of hope.  For those arriving.  Over the years.
Refugees weeping; grateful.
Sailors returning; celebrating.
Tourists marveling; taking pictures.
Amazed at the grandeur.  Never disappointing.

Lady Liberty.
Not a symbol of power so much.
But standing tall; welcoming.  More a representative of faith. 
To those seeking a better life.

Because until you lose it you don't know what freedom is.

On this July 4th,
Lady Liberty is reopening, the first time since 9/11.
A symbol.
To help us remember.
Processing refugees at Ellis Island; desperate to be accepted.

Because on another July 4th, our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
Aware of the great sacrifice to themselves and their families; war.
Hardship, loss of life, separation from loved ones. 

Pursuing freedom; whatever the cost.

And then, welcoming the downtrodden to our shores.  Giving hope and a new life.

As we celebrate do we remember?
What has been and continues to be spent for us to be free?
For today - a different kind of war.
Involving entitlement and oftentimes disappointment with the American dream.

Paul Simon pens it in a song, "American Tune".
Disillusionment.  Sometimes for the refugees.  For citizens here.

Poor living conditions upon arrival; some in NY City tenements, some digging ditches.
Hard, back-breaking toil in order to eat.
No handouts.
Maybe more than they bargained for.
Even today.

But, interestingly enough, very few got back on the boat.

Because life is hard.  Then and now.
And maybe the American dream isn't worth it if it's all about materialism and success.

But we forget.  It isn't.
The most important thing; living in freedom.
Worth the personal cost.

On this July 4th, in a land where we have such high expectations, let us never forget.
The sacrifices then and even now.

And in the remembering; the symbols.

Flags waving, fireworks, cookouts, a lady standing tall in a harbor and an aged document under glass in Washington, D.C.
Symbols all of freedom.

After all, isn't that the issue right now in Egypt?
Risking everything.  For freedom.

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