"240 years is the blink of an eye.
Regardless of the political arguments over how and why this country was founded and declared independence, it was, and remains to this day, an opportunity.
In the 38 years I have been alive, I have made more mistakes than anyone I know. There is the person I want to be, and the person I see in the mirror in the morning. It would be easy to focus only on my mistakes and shortcomings, but I do my best to judge others, and myself on the things I get right. No one, and nothing is perfect. To expect perfection from any nation is as unrealistic as expecting to navigate your entire life without making a wrong turn.
There is a reason those who die in the service of others are wrapped in our flag. Even if only for a moment, it is a reminder that they stood for the best of what this country can be. Selfless, brave, courageous, and most importantly, more than just individuals.
Honor is just a word, until it becomes a principle used to protect others.
Strength is a meaningless pursuit, until it is used to pick up others weaker than yourself.
Integrity is a concept, until it becomes the foundation of standing for what is right.
Courage is fleeting, until you find it, and turn to fight, regardless of the outcome.
Compassion is unknown, until you experience bending a knee instead of breaking a back.
If you leave our flag out in gail force winds, it will weaken, and eventually unravel. It is the sum total of its threads, and only as strong as the stitches that bind them.
Apart, the pieces of our flag, and who we are as a country have no meaning. Together, bound tightly, it represents the best of humanity, and unlimited possibility. We can be a beacon of hope.
OPPORTUNITY.... We can be who we want, as individuals and society. We CAN become the nation we want to be, it is our choice. That, is INDEPENDENCE.
The 4th of July...."