The Blessings and Burdens of Independence
The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. For me, it is second only to New Years Eve. There is something comforting about a barbecue with friends at twilight, surrounded by fireflies and fireworks. Tonight, we will proudly parade our flag through the streets, honor our veterans, and appreciate our freedom and the life it enables us to lead. But how often do we actually consider the significance of our independence? What does it mean to be free, anyway? Perhaps it is easy to answer this question from the political perspective. We elect our governing officials, are invited to participate in the democratic process and live without the fear of unreasonable government intervention. It’s been a privilege to study law and the miracle that is our American government, and tonight I will celebrate the holiday with a new appreciation for our country.
However, I’d like to challenge you to internalize the concept of freedom a bit more this year. Try to look beyond the Stars and Stripes, and focus on the opportunities our nation affords us. Then, have an honest conversation with yourself about how often you take advantage of the independence we so proudly declare every Fourth of July. Do you put your freedom to use?
At Knots Apparel, we take our freedom seriously. We do our best to exercise our free will to improve not only our own condition, but also the condition of our neighbors. We strive to innovate capitalism by incorporating a selfless spirit of generosity into an economy that unabashedly promotes the bottom line. Many critics have written us off as idealistic fools. This Fourth of July, let us declare our independence from such pessimism, lest we forget the words of The New Colussus, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I find personal solace in the American Spirit. It is a spirit that doesn’t settle for the status quo, and dares to envision a better future. Our country affords us the opportunity to dream, and enables us to take action to chase those dreams. If we truly value independence, we will exercise our right to produce, inspire and contribute for the benefit of the greater whole.