Give freedom a workout

Published 4:10 am Friday, June 26, 2009

By Staff
Next week, a Beaufort County tradition continues when Belhaven hosts another Fourth of July celebration.
Belhaven’s 67th-consecutive Independence Day observance will include a parade, street dance and two pageants, the Little Miss Independence Pageant and the Miss Independence Pageant. Folks flock to Belhaven to participate in the community-wide birthday bash for the United States of America.
We hope area residents and visitors alike enjoy the festivities. We also hope they take time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday. July 4 is much more than just a day away from work, grilling burgers and watching fireworks, not that there is anything wrong with those things.
The Fourth of July is a time to remember that we as Americans have the right to peacefully assemble in our streets and voice our displeasure with our government’s action or inaction without fear of being attacked by the government we criticize. No doubt there are many Iranians who would love to have such an assurance.
How many Americans would trade places with someone in North Korea, where a brutal regime severely punishes, if not kills, anyone who dares to disagree with its edicts and policies? In the USA, criticism of government leaders is expected, if not encouraged to some degree. In North Korea, criticism of government leaders often is tantamount to a prison sentence, possibly a death sentence in some instances.
The Fourth of July reminds us of the American Revolution, in which men were willing to die to forge a nation where personal freedoms were more important than allegiance to a king and where generations since 1776 fought to preserve those freedoms at home and around the world.
As we participate in Fourth of July celebrations next weekend, it is incumbent on us to remember that American men and women around the world are protecting and preserving freedom. Belhaven’s annual Independence Day celebration always finds a way to remind us of that fact.
Take time to celebrate freedom next weekend. Many people around the world don’t have that opportunity.
Taking freedom for granted could result in it being taken from us. There’s a reason the USA is the strongest nation in the world. We exercise our freedoms.
Don’t forget to exercise them July 4.