Freedom Isn't Universal: An Army Wife's Perspective

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“What do you mean you don’t celebrate the Fourth of July!?” 

At the time this astonished reaction came out of my mouth, I was working on a highly diverse stunt team that included people from Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Canada, and several other countries. About six of us were American. In honor of the holiday, we’d decided to have a barbeque. 

As everyone was enjoying their grilled yummies, I turned to my Australian friend and asked him what he normally did at home for the Fourth. 

“We don’t celebrate that holiday,” my friend stated calmly, prompting my astonished response. 

After I’d bellowed my reaction, he fell silent, and a funny look crossed his face. He stared at me for what seemed like forever. It took a minute, but it finally occurred to me that, as an Australian, he’d have no reason to celebrate America’s independence. The same was true for the people from every other country represented on our team. No one celebrated the Fourth of July except us. 

As if to rub salt in the wound, one of my friends from the UK overheard us and chimed in, “Just in case you were wondering, we are not too keen on the holiday, either.”


Embarrassing as it was, it was an educational moment. I’d grown up in the US with my own narrow perception of holidays, and I simply hadn’t thought about the perspectives of others. Since then, I have made an intentional effort to expand my horizons. As an adult, I have lived in several countries and love celebrating other cultures and holidays. I often include our children in these non-American celebrations. 

And, I still love Independence Day. Mostly. Even though this year, I find myself having mixed feelings. 

As a military wife, I understand the hard work and sacrifice that made this holiday possible. I respect it and truly value it. But I also believe Independence Day is supposed to represent freedom for all, not just for some. And there are plenty of people in America (and lots of other places in the world) who do not feel free. For them, freedom is an ongoing battle, war, or struggle. 

Hopefully, that will not always be the case. But today, wherever you are in your life right now, on this Fourth of July holiday, I encourage you to pause and reflect on the freedoms that brought you here. I also encourage you to consider the ways you are still working hard for your freedom. Maybe it’s getting a better handle on your work schedule, creating more time for family, or advocating for your rights as an individual with a disability. 

Wherever you are still seeking freedom in your life, don’t give up. Take this Independence Day as a reminder that you can rise up and succeed, no matter how much the odds seem stacked against you.

No matter what you are celebrating or struggling with this Fourth of July, remember, you are not alone. The freedom you fight for makes the world a better place. 

Feeling called to comment? You’re free to do so!

Whether you agree with me or disagree, you have the freedom to speak your mind. Which is amazing. I honor it!


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