The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate America. Fireworks and patriotism abound, along with apple pie, hot dogs and parties with family and friends. It’s easy to fall into this happy routine.
This year, my experience on July 4th has been a bit different, though. Many people throughout the world don’t have what we have, and I often take for granted having electricity, water and food easily accessible. With no power or water from June 29 to yesterday, and with temperatures from 90-100 degrees, my life was completely altered. There are still hundreds of thousands of families without electricity, including many of my friends and neighbors. We drove around recharging our cell phones as we searched for ice, water and gas, calling to keep one another updated on road closures. I toted around a bag with toiletries and a towel for the past three days and took showers whenever I passed by a friend whose house had power.
Last night I cleaned out everything in my refrigerator and freezer, scrubbing both units with soap and water. As I worked, I thought about all of the people who open their doors each day to see empty shelves, who don’t have cars or phones to charge. Each day they face challenges I’ll never know, and these four days were a gentle reminder to appreciate all that I have.
I am blessed to live in this wonderful country. Happy Birthday America, and thank you to all of those men and women, past and present, who have enabled us to celebrate July 4 with so many opportunities and freedoms.