Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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July 4, 2014

Today we celebrate what's right

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Happy Birthday, America! It’s the Fourth of July, a day to celebrate the independence of our great nation.

In the midst of picnics and parties, parades and presentations — all followed by fireworks, of course — I invite each of you to take a moment to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. At a time when bad news is ever present, and all that is “wrong” with our country is ever streaming on the internet, I encourage you to focus your thoughts, even for a fleeting moment, to appreciate what’s “right” with America on this Fourth of July. 

We live in an amazing country and are truly blessed with liberties. America is still “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” We will miss the meaning of this holiday if we don’t stop and reflect on the “blessings of liberty” and fully appreciate how amazing it is to live in America.

One thing I love about this holiday is the fact that it falls during one of America’s most wonderful seasons. Summer here in Western New York is simply beautiful. Our trees are lush and full, our flowers are in full bloom, and fresh fruit is readily available to enjoy. We are an integral part of a nation that stretches from sea to shining sea. Whether it’s the vast serenity of our Great Lakes, the winding wonder of our Erie Canal, or the majestic power of Niagara Falls, we are surrounded by the magnificent wonders of our amazing land.

Another thing I love about America is its incredible diversity. It is a tapestry of people from all walks of life — all races, religions, ethnic origins and economic backgrounds. In my own ancestry, I marvel at the pictures I have seen, and the stories I have heard of my great grandparents who were African American, Scotch-Irish and Native American. I am blessed by what it means to be an American. I am honored to have ancestors from three different continents who ultimately called America their homeland.

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