Happy 4th of July

I grew up in a very patriotic household: both grandparents, nearly every uncle, some aunts, many cousins, my dad and both my brothers all served in some capacity of the U.S. military. We are from blue collared stock--like so many other families here we trace our lineage to immigrant beginnings--which with each generation has had the opportunity to better themselves, some of us even becoming, *gasp* white collareds. We are the kind of people who take off our hats and put hands on our chests during the National Anthem, and maybe even get tears in our eyes too (at least I do). Ingrained in us from a very young age was an awareness of the flaws in our country, but also a very deep love of the many freedoms that we have as Americans.

This week as we've been beaten over the head with more pre-election talk and people complaining about being tired of hearing about the health care reform, I was just thankful to be living in a place where this is what we're fighting about--non-violently, I must add. I live in a country where as a woman I can work, or raise a baby alone, or have pre-marital sex, or bash the government, or protest in public, or a number of other things that you can't do in some places. We live in a special place. A great place by my account. So on this, our Independence Day, I am thinking of all that we've fought for and lost and gained as a nation, and I am proud and so happy that I live here.

I Hear America Singing.
    I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
    Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
              and strong,
    The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
    The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
              work,
    The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
              hand singing on the steamboat deck,
    The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
              as he stands,
    The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morn-
              ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
    The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
              or of the girl sewing or washing,
    Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
    The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young
              fellows, robust, friendly,
    Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs. 

--Uncle Walt (Whitman)

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