Wednesday 4 July 2007

Independence Day

I love this holiday. Some readers think I am anti-American. I don't know how that would be possible. My family are American. Many of my friends are American. I love visiting America.
I love so much of what America is about.

I love the way we are taught from a very young age that we can anything we want to be. It doesn't matter if your father is a truck driver. You can be president, if you so desire. Hard work and imagination can get you far. The entrepreneur spirit is alive and well and is encouraged in particular my the investment opportunities and corporate tax structure.

In the UK when my husband and I told British friends that we were starting our own business they all took a solid and sharp intake of breath and told us we were crazy. When we told our American friends they were like "Go for it!"

But this isn't why I love this holiday. I love the occasion that it celebrates.

A group of men (supported by their wives and children) decided they felt so unjustly treated by the leaders of their government that they were going to rise up against it. They had tried to reason with the King of England and Parliament. They had tried to negotiate what they felt had been unfair treatment. They debated the issues endlessly and eloquently in the various halls in the "cities" of those first 13 colonies.

But when this all this failed, they wrote an amazing letter (aka The Declaration of Independence) and said they wanted to be left to their own devices. They fought hard against what was arguably the world's super power at the time. They fought against their neighbours who were loyal to the crown. They fought against one of the best trained militaries in the world.

But they were clever men and they aligned themselves with other military powers. France came to the rescue to help them out in the seas and cut off Britain's supply chains in the ports. And eventually those clever men and the armies they had assembled won against the big bad wolf. David had slain Goliath. And a nation was born.

I used to go to Boston quite often when the company I worked for was based there. I would walk the Freedom Trail and marvel at how courageous the founding fathers and their friends must have been.

It is always a bit odd to be here in England on this day. With their usual pithy comments, the English try to pretend that they don't regret losing their former colony. Good riddance and all that.

But I know the truth. We were quite a catch. And now we are free.

1 comment:

Janell said...

I hope you had a Happy Independence Day in your heart, if not in your back yard!
I thought of a response for you for the next time a European makes a derisive comment about the US "only having 200 years of history." Look them in the eye and tell them your cousin in Nebraska says that's all we needed to catch up to Europe.