“… To A Candid World”

The 8th floor of my dorm regularly displays an impressive panorama of downtown Cleveland. Tonight, however, it’s pierced with greens, golds, and reds as the entire horizon is lit with expanding spheres and rings in patterns that are inextricably linked in my mind to the date. At least a dozen shows, including the large celebration downtown, decorate the sky as I watch dusk fall from my darkened apartment window. Muffled explosions–with rapports like gun shots–add a somber note to the celebration this year. The similarity is always there, but this year I cannot neglect it. I remember watching missiles explode in Israel on the morning news when I was in middle school. I wonder how people feel in Baghdad tonight. Do they have electricity? Did they watch fireworks go off in the Green Zone for our soldiers there? How many people are hearing actual gun shots around the world tonight? There are too many people whose first instinct would be to cower at the sounds coming from my window.

Naturally, my mind drifts backwards as well, to holidays past spent in D.C., Germany, Tanzania. The Star Spangled Banner still brings goosebumps to my skin, and, like every other time I hear it, I imagine men in battle, despairing in the darkest hours of the night, and the rush of glorious delight that the morning brings when it alights on that cloth that, for them, is the symbol of all for which they fight.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

These are the rights of every man, woman, and child that has ever lived, though few have enjoyed them. This is not a holiday that belongs to one nation as far as I’m concerned. This is a day for everyone, a day to enjoy those rights, to remember those who have given the earth their blood for these rights, and to pledge those rights to those who have yet to see them.

Happy 4th of July, World.

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