Happy Fourth Of July Everyone!

When I went to Philadelphia for the first time as a child, I expected to arrive at Independence Hall and see this huge, sprawling building.  Imagine my surprise when I stood before it, seeing how small and simple it was.   It was hard for me to fathom the history that took place there, and what it all meant to the course of our nation and future. 

Its significance lies in its contrast from the grandeur of what we are today.

It demonstrates just how far we have come.

When I visit Washington DC one of my favorite things to do is visit the National Archives building.  I will never get tired of it.  You enter this very dignified and very beautiful rotunda, and then you see it.  The Declaration Of Independence stands upright in its own case, our Constitution displayed close by.  Aged by the hands of time, the signatures of our historical figures are barely visible. 

Something so simple.  A tattered and faded piece of paper.  That has the power to take your breath away when you realize all we are and what we have accomplished is built upon it.

On my last visit there, Husband and I walked in hand in hand.  He was excited.  It was my first opportunity to show him a city I loved so much.  We had just spent a whirlwind afternoon on the National Mall, darting between all of the famous memorials, and we had animals at the National Zoo and museum hopping on our agenda in the days to come.  Visiting the Archives was the perfect end to our perfect first day.

There was a security guard present, and she addressed the crowd.

“Enjoy, everyone.  These documents belong to us, The People.”

And she was right.

We have accomplished a lot in our 236 years of existence.  Space shuttles and rockets have taken people into space.  Humans have set foot on the moon. The Saturn V rocket that got them there is still, to this day, the most powerful thing ever built.  Cars and planes transport us everywhere we want to go, be it the grocery store down the street or to a distant corner of the world.  Medicine has saved millions of lives. Personal computers can be found in nearly every home in this country, and I can do hundreds of cool things on my iPhone, right from the palm of my hand.   Iconic bridges and dams stand tall.  

And all of it was possible, because a brave few converged on one unassuming place in Philadelphia over two centuries ago.

We aren’t perfect.  There is still a lot of work to do.  But I also know there is no other place on earth like this one.

So as imperfect as it all seems sometimes, on this day I ask you to appreciate it.

Be grateful for being here in this place and time, and for greatness and possibilities.

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and glorious Fourth Of July.

And Happy 236 Birthday, America.

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