2023 July 4 There's a lot to Independence Day!

Jul 04, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about re-imagining your life. Thanks for joining me today to talk about Independence Day in its many different forms. If you like what you hear today, please leave a like and tell your friends and send me a message.


First off, I want to wish everyone in the USA a wonderful 4th of July. To everyone in the world, I hope you're able to live your life as freely and safely as you'd like to. I hope everyone gets to spend time with their friends and families and have a wonderful time together and celebrate the miracle in the US of living in a country expressly founded on the basis of personal freedom. 


I'd like to give a special thanks to Dan Rice. He's the president of the American University in Kyiv, Ukraine. He did a post on LinkedIn on July 3rd entitled The Rockets Red Glare and it reminded me that that independence Day, we tend to think of it in the past, but in reality, it's an ongoing thing. 


So thank you Dan for that post. If you're on LinkedIn, look him up. He does a lot of interesting writings and really changed my perspective on the relevance of Independence Day and whether it's a historical holiday or something that still matters. 


This is the 247th Independence Day celebration in the United States. Things have obviously  changed over time, but if you ignore the drone displays that they're doing in lieu of fireworks (talk about missing the point entirely), I know there's some reasons insofar as wildfires and things like that, but clearly the point of independence Day, of the fireworks, is not just to be a day out to have fun.


There'll be about 16,000 fireworks displays supposedly in the United States this year with millions and millions of people attending, but the bigger issue is that more and more people are forgetting what and why fireworks are used. It's not just for entertainment. It isn't torment pets or make everything go wow.  It's really a reenactment of the actual battles and attacks that took place back in the 1700s (and later). The Star-Spangled Banner, written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, was actually written during a British attack upon Fort Henry, and was quite serious in its words.


"And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there." Dan's post is very interesting, because he was in Kyiv as he was writing and Kyiv was just attacked again, said that the lights were out because of the attack, but you could see the flag on the top of the building still waving in the rockets red glare. 


We tend to forget it's still absolutely relevant. That's the point. We tend to forget that, during the revolution, the fledgling United States of America received considerable assistance from other nations despite doing the bulk of the heavy lifting ourselves.


A lot of people chipped in. It wasn't just us against the British. We also tend to forget, especially these days with our more sanitized news. Anyone who's near my age - how could you ever forget the near real time reporting from the actual Vietnam battle zones? 


It's absolutely rooted in your head. We're actually seeing that now in a lot of places, the battles going on in Ukraine, but there's others elsewhere. The battles continue for freedom every day in some very big ways. In Ukraine, but in other areas as well where there are people trying to get their freedom from various oppressive governments. It also happens in a lot of small but very important ways such as the daily cyber war attacks and defenses, trying to control the constant stream of propaganda that appears on social media. 


The war may not always be in our face, but it's going on every single day, and that's what Independence Day is all about. We are celebrating our freedom, but also recognizing that freedom is an ongoing challenge.


It's something that we have to work on all the time. We can't forget there are hundreds of thousands of US troops, contractors, civilians, and DoD personnel deployed around the world in a broad range of roles - all of which incur some risk. The ongoing price of freedom is always high because there's always those who feel they can profit by forcibly taking it a away. 


We have to remember that doing nothing really helps the aggressor and only the aggressor. A good way to acknowledge the amazing freedoms that we enjoy in the United States and in many other places would be to help support the people in Ukraine through any of the many aid organizations. You can look at UKR7.com, the website that we have up. There are lots and lots of places you can aid the people in Ukraine, and I think Independence Day is a good way to bring that to the forefront. Remember, they're fighting for their independence today, just like we did 247 years ago.


We tend to forget that the independence of our country, the founding principle of the US, was that every person should have the right to pursue happiness in a way that matters to them, of course, with respect for others' rights as well. This is a really important piece that tends to get overlooked, especially with social media these days 


It's a really interesting social pressure on people. There are certainly bumps in the road in the US, trying to get freedoms, but as a country and a culture, we still value individual liberty and always have - the right of the individual, not the government, to determine our own definition of happiness. It's an exceedingly rare form of government and something that should be celebrated every single day that. We are a country founded on the principle of the right to pursue happiness,, but we often take it for granted and do little to maintain it. 


Sometimes we even bartered it away for short term gifts, like free social media or free news. I pay for some expensive newspapers, and I pay for the local paper. Why do I do that? Because it's important to support real news media. It can't all just be sound bites on TV. Real reporting is expensive and it's dangerous. There was just a recent attack in Ukraine, two or three days ago, where another reporter was killed. She was reporting from the fronts, on the battles, documenting the atrocities that Russia is regularly doing. She died because of where she was and what she was doing. Real news is the basis of real freedom.


We can't just decide to look at the news and not pay for it, get it off the internet. There are actually a lot of of major lawsuits going on right now against the social media companies and Google talking about that. The news takes money to get, so I would encourage you to support your local newspapers, support the major papers, buy them, get a subscription to them, whether it's online or physical delivery. It's really important and it's really the basis of freedom. 


But we were saying before that part of that freedom is personal freedom, what it is that's important to you and what it is that brings you to the point of feeling that you can live life on your terms. Society has a lot of really huge levers. It keeps society functioning today and tomorrow like it did today and yesterday, because society has lots of morals and principles that just Only makes sense to society. 


Society uses lots of techniques, like criticizing people, for doing something out of the norm. Someone leaves a good corporate job to work as an entrepreneur, or they go open an ice cream stand. I don't know what's wrong with Harry. He had a really good job and he left it. Now, it's laughing or even publicly humiliating and attacking people who dare to question any "known" truth. 


In a real scientific mind, a real open approach, and a real open society, no topic is ever closed. We're always getting more information. We're always learning more things, and people still criticize others on different was of looking at things. Attitudes shift, and you don't necessarily know somebody else's basis for their beliefs, but you have the opportunity to learn about them and learn more about the world at the same time.


There's constant social pressure, whether it's in fashion styles or attitudes, you'll find that you never quite reach a place where you can be at peace with yourself, because those things are always changing. The goal is always purposely changing. 


This is the other meaning of Independence Day. It's also a good day to look after ourselves and remember that Independence Day was built upon personal courage. It takes real courage to go against the tide and to hold independent thoughts and attitudes.


If you want to avoid eating certain types of food, or make a point of eating certain types of food, that's a personal decision and you have the right to make that decision. Yes, others have an equal right to make different decisions, but they don't have the right to try and force their opinions onto your life.


The same is true for your political views, your religious views, and hundreds, even thousands, of of personal matters that are currently being claimed to belong to a particular group or to the government. It's not true. They're your views. You've looked at life through your own experiences, and you have the right to your own views, whether it's drinking soda and full fat milk, or deciding what days you're able to work because of deep-seated beliefs. This level of independence is also core to the way that we live. When someone tells you that you have to do something, know in your heart that you're free to live your life as you see fit in order to live your full potential as long as you aren't harming others. That's a really important concept to keep in mind on this Independence Day, 


I know there'll be difficult times. For me personally, drinking alcohol is something I just don't do, and it's often difficult to just flat out say no with no excuses and reasons. You're out in various social situations and there's a lot of pressure going on. You don't have to give you an excuse. This is a personal decision. I encourage you to stand by your decisions. Remember what belongs to you. One of the things that really belongs to you is you your own life, your thoughts, your reasons for being. It's your body. Your life. 


You don't have to justify it to anyone who challenges you. It's their responsibility to respect your right to self-determination and not to purposely try and hinder it. Besides enjoying a wonderful holiday, please take this Independence day to remember all the sacrifices that have made it possible, and to celebrate and appreciate all that we have and to appreciate all that you are.


Live your life in the fullest way possible. Remember the people in the Ukraine, and certainly remember the huge freedoms that we enjoy in the US. The personal liberty and self-determination is the underlying principle on which everything else is built.


You have the right to live your life in the way that you see fit and to live your life to the fullest, obviously in consideration of others because they have the exact same rights. But concepts such as society or political parties have absolutely zero right to dictate your worth or your self image.


That's it for the week. Thanks so much for joining me. I'd encourage you to think about what really matters to you and that perhaps what you have set aside because you didn't want others to think you were different. Just do it. If you always wanted to learn to play bagpipes in a rock band, hey, go for it.


But really think about these things in terms of your overall life satisfaction. This is a super personal decision. No one can make this determination for you other than yourself. A horrible job that pays great? Maybe you're doing it for the kids, but maybe starting your own business, like starting an ice cream stand, would be a better role model for the kids. Only you know what matters most in your life. Do it with confidence. Enjoy the process. Remember the many levels of Independence Day, wishing everyone a great holiday and much happiness and much discovery. 


That's it for the day. Remember UKR7.com and Ukraine. These are links where you can donate.


Remember, they're fighting for Independence just like we did 247 years ago. Lots of links there, including to the World Central Kitchen. WCK.org.  They support humanitarian activities going on worldwide, and I would encourage you to look into any of those. 


Remember, one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. So if you can and you're able, pease check it out.


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of because that's the path to true contentment. Love an encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


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