No matter what’s going on in the U.S. and the world around us- the good, the bad, things we agree on, things we disagree on- it’s nice to see there’s one day when all Americans stand up together, proud to be a part of this beautiful country. 

Everyone associates the Fourth of July with attending the local parade, grilling out, spending time with family and friends, swimming at the pool, boating at the lake, seeing fireworks and more. All of these things are so… American. But what does that mean? 

Most days we take for granted how fortunate we are. We’re free to be ourselves and have our own thoughts and opinions. Free to decide what we want to do and who we want to be with. Free to choose where to live, what to study, who to marry, what religion to practice, where to work. Free to do a whole lot of things people in other countries will never experience. 

Being an American not only means living freely, it means choosing our own happiness and making our own decisions. It means standing up for what we believe in but also listening to what the person next to us has to say. It’s realizing we have the power to make a change and the resources to help those in need. Realizing we can reach for the stars and achieve our dreams. Realizing we the people affect the future of this country. 

So as the holiday weekend comes to an end and the festive feeling fades, let’s not forget how lucky we are to live in the land of the free, the home of the brave. A place where we can choose to be who we feel we’re meant to be. A place where we can turn our biggest hopes into reality.

Happy birthday, America. Keep shining bright. And Americans, let’s help her shine brighter. God bless the USA.

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