“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.”
The Declaration of Independence
That sentence above, from the Declaration of Independence (signed 241 years ago today) basically summed up the dream and hope of the United States of America. There are many horrific chapters in our story as a country (slavery, genocide, segregation, et cetera), but the tide has always moved towards ensuring all Americans are guaranteed their inalienable, God-given rights. Today, let’s just talk about freedom, and how some give up the familiar just to seek it.
Freedom. Such a powerful word when you when think of it. The simple way of letting people choose their own destiny within all their means, is how I would look at it. It’s the cornerstone of the American dream. It’s one of the reasons my parents left behind everything they knew to start a new life here.
What Brought My Parents Here?
Let me tell you a little about my parents. They both were born in Kenya, and both of them basically started from scratch when they came. You know what drove them here? Freedom did. When they came over (my dad in the 80s, my mom in the 90s), Kenya was a dictatorship ran under the brutal Daniel arap Moi (side note: he’s still alive, but he retired from the presidency in 2002 due to high public pressure for him to do so). I’m not going to go into Moi’s human rights record in this piece, I’m not writing a novel here (just search his name and add “human rights” if you’re curious). My parents knew America would give them a chance to make something of themselves and their children one day, a chance that they couldn’t see happening back home at the time. They’re still working so hard, and sacrificing so much to ensure my siblings and I can have a good head start in life. I wish I could adequately express just how much I look up them.
Let’s also take this time to remember the heroic veterans among us who have gone off to places most of us have only heard of, just to defend freedom. Also, remember the millions of immigrants who moved here in search of freedom. This Independence Day, let’s remember this one universal value, freedom. People fight for it, people defend it and people strive for it always.
The above image is courtesy of techavy.com