Alright, I know. I didn’t post a blog on the 4th, but it certainly loomed heavily on my mind. A family vacation which began on the 2nd and ended on the 8th proved to be a stumbling block. Of course, the fact that my husband’s steely glare surfaced every time I broached the blog subject underscored the need to keep the desktop closed. “I can only imagine what you’d say if I worked on vacation,” he complained, and I had to agree.
To our credit, we, as a family, focused on our collective gratitude to live in the U.S. What tops our gratitude lists? Freedom to criticize the President openly without fear of being sentenced to years of hard labor like Pussy Riot band members in Russia or dissidents in China, freedom to listen to music of our choosing without worry about government interference as occurred with the song “Happy”, freedom to choose the size of our family without government restrictions, freedom to protest in public without fear of being slaughtered by government troops like the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Personally, I feel gratitude because I choose what I want to wear everyday without fear of Al Qaeda reaction. Gratitude grows verdant and lush because, as a woman, I can worship where I please and educate my mind without fear of harsh reprisal. As a family, we feel gratitude to live in a capitalistic, free society that rewards creativity and innovation, unlike a communist one that only allows for and breeds mediocrity by paying its citizens a renminbi every week regardless of their efforts or ingenuity. The freedom to conduct our lives, run a business, raise a family, go to a club or bar without worry of Mafia interference or involvement typifies a more serene existence than elsewhere. The ability to grieve our loved ones publicly without being restrained, injected and dragged away by government officials, as a distraught Russian mother was—with tv cameras rolling—when her son died in the Kursk submarine disaster, also secures our ironclad appreciation.
The recent senseless Malaysian Airlines tragedy reminds us that life can be fleeting and unjust. We feel grateful to live in a country that stands up far more often that it stands down in the wake of a disaster. Our country complained to the world community that the wreckage site should not be pillaged and compromised nor should the dead be left at the site for 48 hours. In fact, with all of its “Grind to a Halt” problems in Congress, our country remains one of the most powerful, prosperous, philanthropic nations on this planet.
In closing, I suggest that the 4th of every month should be a day to reflect—at the dinner table or in front of a paused television show or commercial—on the freedoms we enjoy, the bomb-free, tranquil peace which characterizes our overall quality of life and to be thankful to our servicemen and women for the many choices that we enjoy on a daily basis.