Celebrating Freedom

Another Fourth of July weekend just ended and we’re heading back to work today.  It’s  one of those Tuesday’s that feel like a Monday and make you wish that the weekend didn’t just end.

I have been here, there, and everywhere with around three posts wallowing in my draft folder here.  So not for lack of trying, but it’s been quite the effort to get something published.  I did go on vacation (yay!) and before I get started on dreaming about that and getting stuck there again, let me just say that Fiji was just paradise!  (Fourth post to be drafted!)

I didn’t have any special plans for the long weekend that just passed, probably due to the fact that I am still “recovering” from the week-long taste of bliss — and I am glad I didn’t push it because I think I finally got rid of the jetlag.  16 hours ahead of New York isn’t that easy to get back from, more so since I plunged back into work the day after arriving at past midnight Monday.

This is is now my 17th Fourth of July celebration  and I’ve mostly celebrated it  just watching the fireworks on television, except the two times when I watched it “live” in the city with my sister in 2001, I believe — (Or might’ve been 2002..), and the last time in 2013 with BFF Donna and her family.  It’s a spectacular show but one which, once you’ve seen it, you can chalk up as an experience under the “been there, done that” category.  It’s just too much hassle to get close to the city on this day of days and then make it back to wherever you came from.

But one thing struck me yesterday as I was reminded by a friend’s Instagram post on how we celebrate freedom in these parts.  She quoted Erma Bombeck who said:

You have to love a nation that celebrates its Independence Day every July 4th not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

I never took notice until I read this the other day, and I must say it speaks for the American way of life in volumes.  While most Americans are unaware the the basic freedoms they take forgranted are denied many people in other parts of the world, the way they celebrate the birthday of the nation emphasizes the very core of what those freedoms have evolved to: the right to do what they want on this day.

I was a Martial Law baby and I grew up under a regime that has curfews and where the basic right of the writ of habeas corpus was suspended.  That is a concept and a world that many wouldn’t be able to visualize or imagine outside of the Philippines.  Even now, many young people back home hold their strong opinions about the curtailment of those freedoms back then, without actually having experienced their curtailment.  I was not a victim back then and I have my own opinion about whether or not we were better off then as a people, or if we are better off now— but the flood of freedom in a country that lives it as a way of life is not lost upon me.

There is much to celebrate and be grateful for.  Happy birthday, America!!