In true American form, most of us will spend the 4th of July engaging in mildly hedonistic acts of food consumption and novelty entertainment while the real meaning of the holiday will be remembered and appreciated by the few. Just about every American (myself included) takes this country for granted, because most of us have lived most of their lives in a land where concepts like hunger, disease, and strife are foreign.
The nation that we celebrate tomorrow is the first nation to be ushered in an age of prosperity. Where working for a few hours at any job can buy a week's worth of groceries. Where people struggle to be thin, not fat. Where parents invest and nurture their children rather than use them as cheap labor.
It's no secret that America is a special place. And people around the world know it too, which is why we still admit more immigrants than any other country. People will wait in lines decades long to come to the promised land (although it's shameful on our part to make them wait so long). Throughout our history, Americans and others have known this place was a special place. An exceptional place. Every citizen might be unduly proud of their country, but Americans are always less so, because our country is just that awesome.
Despite her faults, America is still the last, best hope of freedom and prosperity. Despite a growing international chorus of doubters and naysayers, people still look to America to make things right. Despite increased disillusionment in our politicians at home, Americans still believe in the fundamental message and promise of America. There is no other America to move to. We're already in the promised land. And the promised land has vastly more air conditioning per household than Europe.
So tomorrow, go ahead, kick back, relax and enjoy a nice cold (possibly alcoholic) beverage of your choice and watch some fireworks. We get one day out of a year to celebrate the greatness of this country. We'll spend the rest of the year building upon it.