Happy 246th Birthday, America!

It’s the July 4th weekend, Independence Day here in the United States.  Regardless of where you call home around our globe, this is the day to recognize the unique freedoms and opportunities that exist in the U.S. as nowhere else in the world.

These freedoms, liberties and virtually limitless opportunities that we enjoy didn’t come about effortlessly. The history of America’s struggle for independence after centuries of foreign rule is well known.

The founders of America led with classic leadership traits of sheer determination, unshakeable perseverance and an unwavering commitment to the cause of freedom that meant risking everything.  Famous Declaration of Independence signer, John Hancock, during one of the formative Continental Congress meetings, referring to the various states, reminded the gathered group of patriotic founders that they must all hang together.  Astute and characteristically ascerbic, Benjamin Franklin responded with one of his classic quotes: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”  Leadership, at that point in our history, meant risking it allL

I still believe, perhaps more strongly than ever today because we exist in times of expanding communism and predatory war, that the United States of America is not only an exceptional country but one with limitless potential to realize the concept as originally imagined- a land of innate and codified freedoms, and one where individual liberties must be the primary consideration. Freedom is not easily attainable, given the human propensity to form governments and ones that eventually tip the balance of power away from the individual. But anything worth having is worth fighting for- requiring strong, dedicated leadership, and very importantly, those willing to engage in a fight that lasts until the objectives are achieved.

As we enjoy the freedom to congregate and exchange our diverse viewpoints among family, friends and community this Independence weekend, let’s take a moment to thank those who stand willing and prepared to preserve our liberty. The freedoms celebrated in the United States of America today are preserved by those who have given, and those who are willing to give, their very lives for ours. God bless our defenders- our military servicemembers (those who’ve passed on, veteran and active duty) and our law enforcment officers.

On a personal note, as I write this article, I think of my own very American story. As the daughter of immigrants, the last of seven siblings and the only one born here in the United States, when I asked my father why he and my mother decided to emigrate to America- my father responded, “Why else would I leave everything and everyone I’ve ever know but to give my family its best chance at freedom, happiness and opportunity?” That is the promise of America and it delivers; our job is to preserve this declaration of human rights. Wishing you all a happy, safe and joyous Independence Day! – Lina M. Maini. Co-founder, VPAA

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.” –Thomas Jefferson

“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” –Ben Franklin

“Freedom is never given, it is won.” –A Philip Randolph

“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” –William Faulkner

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

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