Independence Day is my favorite non-religious holiday. It means a lot to me in more ways than I can express in a simple blog.
Freedom isn't free - cliche I know, but it is true. You have to work at democracy. You have to vote, talk, listen and most of all think. Since becoming old enough to vote...I have not missed an opportunity to vote and God willing - I never will. Many people fought and died for me to be able to vote. I don't take that lightly.
When I race internationally in triathlon (my last time was 2006) I get excited about racing with USA after my name. Some folks I know think that is silly, I consider it an honor.
The USA is made up of all kinds of people - not just one - this is what makes us great. We are the world's "everyman". When we were little we used to ask our grandparents what it means to be Italian. My grandmother (never angered or strong willed about much openly) said, "I am Italian. YOU are AMERICAN. We travelled a long way and endured a lot so you can be part of this great country. We won't forget the Italian traditions but YOU, my grandson, are an American - be proud of the greatest country in the world where people from everywhere come here for opportunity."
I'll never forget that.