What the 4th of July Means to Me

Counting my blessings

As we watch countless numbers of human beings struggle for freedom and liberty around the globe, it is good to reflect upon the blessings we enjoy in the land that we love — this United States of America.

This is my 67th Fourth of July celebration and my memories of the day are some of those very blessings…family time in many places. All were amazing…captivated by fireworks in small-town America…aboard a small boat on the Mississippi River and also a huge cruise liner in Alaska…on the Palace Green in Williamsburg, Va.…in several baseball parks…attending the Baltimore Symphony at Oregon Ridge…attending the Detroit Symphony at the Henry Ford…and zooming across the night sky on a flight to Europe. My blessings include travel to all 50 states and there is something of interest and beauty to be found in each. The US of A is one of my greatest blessings in life.

Our late Senior Vice President Joseph P. Overton penned the following many years ago to be included in our holiday policy:

All staff are encouraged to celebrate Independence Day with passion and verve, remembering it as the signatory day of a document embodying the most sublime of political ideals, an apogee in mankind's quest for liberty of thought and action, the restoration of which is the vision of our organization.

I remember reading this for the first time and being so grateful I had landed in an organization representing so well my own values! One of my nicknames is "the red, white and blue grandma" and I am delighted that a young child recognized what is important to me. Those colors are seen in my apparel, my jewelry, my home and office décor and in the flag that flies 24 hours a day at my home.

My pride in being an American knows no bounds. I am a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution because of a patriot whose service I documented. I am the proud daughter of a father who served his country stateside as a factory worker supplying goods to troops during WWII and the proud daughter-in-law of an Omaha Beach hero. From my patriot great-great-great-great grandfather to my fathers from the greatest generation, my heritage is strong and greatly appreciated.

I will celebrate with passion and verve and count my blessings. As my favorite stanza from "My Country 'Tis of Thee" says, may freedom's holy light be forever bright!