Let Freedom Ring
On July fourth, we celebrate our liberation from the British and the signing of our Declaration of Independence. An icon of liberty and freedom which quickly traveled the globe. Now two hundred plus years later, barbecues will be ablaze, children young and old alike will celebrate, and department stores will offer bargains.
Close to my old home, pyrotechnics will be launched over the east river directly above a Macy’s display. Each time a shell explodes in the air it cause’s an “oooh” or “wow” while the sweat drips effortlessly down a cold beer. That is unless it’s owner thought ahead and brought one of those insulated foam thing-a-ma-jigs to avoid it.
Each colored burst lighting up the skyline is meant to signify the bombs bursting in air and rockets red glare as recited in our Star Spangled Banner. Since I arrived into this world at 12:05am, the morning of July fifth, it was convenient for me to celebrate on the fourth. Which really was an excuse to ignite an extra bunch of fireworks, as my friends sang an off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
Homemade mortar tubes were taken from their resting places. The grill was fired up to roast pricey morsels brought from sea to shinning sea. Rain or shine, celebrated, often after each of us secretly (or not so secretly) prayed it would not rain.
In the same year, the Super Bowl and I were born. Institutions were put in place to ensure our elderly or infirm did not do without. This while our brave warriors – some of whom I can now only view as children – died in a “Conflict.” Yet whatever you choose to call it, thousands of our own lost their lives without hesitation, simply because they were asked to.
Then, taking into account my current living situation, how could I leave out that fateful September day when the uprising at Attica resulted in the deaths of forty-three people. It was deemed the bloodiest encounter amongst Americans since the Civil War (Bantam Books Ed 1972). Yet, I still could not understand how “civil” could be used when explaining such a senseless tragedy.
On this memorable day, when we pray for sunny skies, many of us forget we are able to do as much because of the sacrifices of many. Our “God-given right,” as we choose to call it; but in this case the big guy upstairs had nothing to do with any of it.
The truth is WE fought for each and every one of those rights. WE, indivisible, fought to be free from tyranny. WE the people, fought to be free from a mad king and, after a dream, WE fought to be free from oppression. Even while in our nation’s prisons. We can openly pray to whatever god we choose to call our own. This includes my dear friend’s Jewish wife who helped pray for sunshine. Highways were erected, airports were connected, and as Americans, WE are free to travel them whenever we please.
Currency was created with the images of our founding fathers, which WE all readily accept, especially after one of them established all men were created equal. This includes our children, who were to be educated to our highest standards, some with the proceeds from our lotto millions. After all, just as our forefathers have done before us, they were destined to shape our nation’s future.
However, somewhere along the lines of what the creators of our Constitution had planned for us, something went horribly astray. Now comes the question if our freedom is just an illusion? Someone should ask any of the almost 3 million people locked in one cage or another across our once free country. This is the equivalent of putting a wall directly through midtown Manhattan, then telling whoever was behind it they could not leave.
Most of us remember the story of Paul Revere, warning us the British were coming. Who will do the same when the enemy of our freedom is ourselves? Every time something does not go as planned, someone has to be held accountable, and punished. When this is allowable, people quickly stop taking risks.
Drones will soon fly through the air and spy on Americans on our own soil. This after the process of getting on a plane is the equivalent of being searched after a prison riot. The only consolation, is whether a live operator answers your phone call or not, someone is definitely listening.
Our Federal Reserve Bank is not actually a part of our own government, but several separate banking institutions. This after one percent of Americans already control the other ninety-nine percent using legal loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Our children read outdated books, after walking past a gauntlet of security. Their knapsacks travel on the same metal detectors used in most prisons I have resided in. That is, if their school was not already slated to make room for a new high rise.
Our elderly and infirm often go to sleep hungry or ill. After contributing to this country for a lifetime, their basic staples of life are not available to them. The hospitals that used to care for them in their times of need have been closed for cutbacks.
Our First Amendment is used by people with other agendas, some even protest our fallen by chanting, “God hates soldiers.” I am a true believer in freedom of speech; after all, I am able to write this from a jail cell. However, what these lowlifes are forgetting is it’s only because of our past suffering and human loss that they are able to protest. Maybe they should try this in North Korea and see how well it works out for them.
So next time you are about to enjoy a sporting event, and the jets thunder across a clear blue sky as you recite our National Anthem. Right when you get to, “the home of the brave” part, sing a little louder – and hold your loved ones a drop tighter. It seems this is all we have left.