Craig and I have our granddaughters with us for the holiday. Mindful of this, I've been asking myself the question: What do I want my granddaughters to remember about the 4th of July with grandma and grandpa?
First and foremost: I want them to love America.
For us, as for so many people, the 4th is a day focused on family. I want my granddaughters to know that, like family, loving America can sometimes be complicated. Democracy was in the beginning, is now, and will likely always be a fragile experiment. It is our responsibility – as citizens born into the privilege of democracy – to work to protect that fragile concept. This work is not always easy, the path forward is not always clear, and what it means to be a patriot can seem to shift, even if it never truly does.
There is a legacy of unspeakable bravery and courage handed us this opportunity today, and we are all part of this picture. So it is up to us to challenge ourselves to be as brave and courageous – through uncertainty and fear – in order to contribute to the continuation of this amazing experiment. I want them to see themselves as courageous and brave. I want them to know that they are up to the task.
I also want them to have and remember simple things: like the feeling of genuine awe at what lights up the sky or the the collective energy that comes from whole communities celebrating an ideal. Somehow, in their powerful mystery, they become the reminder of what freedom means.
I want them to know that it is up to us, all of us, together.
I want them to think of family. I want them to love America.