July 4th, Independence Day in the United States, celebrates freedom, our independence as a nation. On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. Americans should remember how many still fight for this freedom around the world. While we are celebrating this holiday with family and friends, we should pause and remember those who died fighting for our freedom. We should never forget their sacrifice.
While we are celebrating our freedom as a nation, we should also remember the responsibility that comes with this freedom. Our responsibility to live our values consistent with the common good. Our responsibility to be a nation committed to embracing the diversity that makes us strong. Our responsibility to evolve and change, as a nation and individually, as we have new information and insight. Our responsibility to be the nation our forefathers envisioned. And even our responsibility to be our best individually, so we can be our best collectively. For it is not possible for us to be our best collectively unless we are our best individually.
We have a great example of this in the World Soccer semifinal game between England and the U.S. While both teams played well collectively, it was not just how well the teams played as a team, as important as that was. It was the individual plays as well as how well the team played like a team that resulted in the U.S. Soccer team winning the semifinal game, advancing to the Finals.
It is easier for us to focus on the U.S. as a nation when thinking about freedom. It is easier to celebrate the U.S. Soccer team as a whole than to herald the individual efforts of the star players. For if we give credit to individuals, we must also assign responsibility to individuals when the score isn’t in our favor, whether the score is a soccer score, or how we “score” as a nation on human rights.
It is never just about them. It is also about us. While it is easier to look at others than to look within, we cannot grow as a nation by just assigning responsibility collectively. It is not enough to look at other individuals, including our President, instead of looking within.
To be our best selves as a nation, we must be our best selves individually. This is our unalienable right and our responsibility.
Happy 4th. And best wishes to our U.S. Soccer team as they play in the World Cup Finals game on Sunday. You have made us proud, regardless of the Finals score.