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What does the Fourth of July mean to you?

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Every year, I attend my parents’ Fourth of July Bash. Like so many American families, we celebrate with food (barbecue), fun, and fireworks.  I look forward to their party every year, mostly because of the food and the fantastic fireworks show, but also because it brings friends and family together.

Opportunities to see family and friends, like the upcoming party, make me think how lucky I am. With the soon approaching holiday, I am also thinking about how lucky I am to be an American. Many might not know that the Fourth of July, in addition to being American Independence Day, is also Liberation Day in Rwanda; a day to remember the more than 1 million innocent men, women, and children murdered during the 1994 genocide.

I recently read a Washington Post article that stated, “July 4 is a day not only to celebrate our independence but also to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going as individuals and as a nation. It is a day when we’re supposed to celebrate our rights to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’” With the hostility seen at the various levels of government recently over issues such as the economy, healthcare, and transportation, I start to think about how important it is for us to take a moment while celebrating the Fourth of July to reflect on the freedom many of us enjoy and the fact that freedom remains to be only a dream for so many around the world.

When I eat my hotdog and apple pie as I watch the red, white, and blue fireworks across the sky I will think about my freedom and those who served and continue to serve our country to keep America the land of the free.

Drew Steinberg is a recent Coro Fellow graduate and a current Associate at Consensus Inc. When she is not eating hotdogs and apple pies to celebrate the Fourth, she is baking up a storm.


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