It's July 4th and before I head out the door to a cookout and an obscene amount of fireworks, I decided to spent a moment considering what freedom means to me.
Freedom means I can say what I think about our country, our laws, and our leaders without going to prison.
Freedom means I can believe in God and worship God without fearing for my life.
Freedom means others who worship differently from me can do so without fearing for their lives either.
Freedom means the government does not control the press.
Freedom means I can live anywhere I want.
Freedom means I can choose any career I want.
Freedom means I can have as many children (or choose not to have any) as I like.
Freedom means my life, my liberty, and my pursuit of happiness cannot be taken from me without due process.
Freedom means even if I completely screw up, the government will still make sure my rights remain unviolated as I go through the court system.
Freedom means my children will not be taken from me because of my religious beliefs, because of my economic status, or because I've had one too many.
Freedom means as a woman, I can own property, I can vote, I can press charges against anyone who abuses or hurts me.
Freedom means I can peacefully protest without being shot or run down by a tank.
Freedom means I can speak to anyone without fear that I will be stoned to death in the middle of a street.
Freedom means I will not be hunted down and slaughtered because my ancestors were not the same color as the current dictator.
Freedom means I can own any book ever published.
Freedom means soldiers will not ransack my home looking for any hint of dissent from the current political climate.
Freedom means my children will not witness rape, torture, or murder before they are old enough to walk.
I am grateful for this freedom. Grateful because I know it comes to me with a heavy price. Grateful because my grandfather who fought in World War II paid that price for me. Grateful because my father who fought in Vietnam paid it for me too. Grateful because my friend Rob who just returned from Iraq is still paying the price for my freedom.
I don't take the celebration of our freedom lightly. I don't take those who pay for it lightly either.
Let freedom ring and let us never become so comfortable that we forget the cost of what is ours.