Beacon of Freedom

Photo Credits: Google Images

Photo Credits: Google Images

Erica Suh, Feature/Opinion Editor

 It is safe to say that the majority of citizens faced—to some extent—discrepancy and prejudice during their stay in the majestic United States of America. After all, many choose, on their own will, to reside on this land for as long as they live. A particular enticement draws people in from not only this very nation, but also from around the world.

Despite America’s diversity in cultures and beliefs, never before have Americans seen such unity on any day other than the Fourth of July. There is nothing more patriotic than donning “festive red, white, and blue material all over our bodies, having a barbecue with the family, playing the ‘Stars Spangled Banner’ in the background, and being a proud American,” as described by Alexandra Flores (12) of a typical celebration on Independence Day. Exactly 238 years later, after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we can see that the statement, “all men are created equal,” still holds true today—that is, only on July 4th. Now fast-forward or rewind to the other 364 days of the year, that are plagued with disputes regarding race, minimum wage, education for the youth, movements for gay rights, tax revenues, and the list goes on.

  But consider this: there is beauty in the fact that we have the opportunity to express views about anything at all without concern for our own safety. There is gratitude for the freedom from oppression and the self-evident right of the American population to live with liberty. This is the incentive people have for wanting to pack their bags and settle in the land of the free, home of the brave. Ronald Reagan relayed it best in his 1980 speech at the Republican National Convention: “It was divine providence that put America here as a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world.” Aaron Barlin (12) adds on with his own opinion, saying, “While there are those who abuse 4th of July with their stupid antics, a majority of Americans spend the day respecting the fact that America managed to stay a country for this long, even after all it has been through. While we take a moment to forget everything we do and have done wrong, we remember to recognize what we do and have done right—most of which no other country, if put in the same exact circumstances as us, could ever pull off. Consequently, we act a lot more unified and as one, something we unfortunately do less of, nowadays.”

  This year, fireworks illuminated the sky over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the Washington Monument in the U.S. Capitol, the Mississippi River in New Orleans, and the Redondo Pier in California. Let this commemoration remind us of America’s abiding prosperity and help us strive to define America with valor and boldness everyday, regardless of gender, ethnicity, background, and religion, for we are all under a unified nation: the good ol’ United States of America.