I love the picture above because it reminds me of my childhood. My family lived "out in the country" on 11 acres, and every 4th of July, we would climb to the top of the big hill behind our house and watch the fireworks display from the amusement park in town. The 4th of July was my favorite holiday as a kid—better than Christmas (with all of those gifts!), so that is saying a lot! As an adult, I still love this holiday, and now I get to enjoy watching my daughter experience the fireworks each year. And, I still get a little teary-eyed when I hear the Star-Spangled Banner. It makes me feel grateful and proud. The truth is that America is a beautiful place, and America is also a flawed place. But I am still glad I live here. Despite the way our political system looks right now, I know that embedded in the hearts of most Americans is a love of freedom, an entrepreneurial spirit, and an appreciation of hard work. These are values that I can whole-heartedly support. I also know that our country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion. It's vital to me that I have the opportunity to be friends with many people with different beliefs and values, and we have respect for one another. My belief is that this respect and love is at the heart of most American people.
So, if you live here in America, I am glad you are here with me. I wish you a fun Independence Day. I hope you spend time with your family and friends and maybe eat a hot dog or two!