Independence Day

My parents were married on July 4, 1964. The 4th of July was always a big deal in our house. Wearing red, white and blue was a given and I still believe the fireworks in Bay City, Michigan are the most epic of anywhere in the country, I think because I made them a personal celebration of this union that began my family. I particularly remember the 25th anniversary with a fancy cake and the pooling of sibling resources to buy a VCR for our parents.

“Happy 4th of July” resonated only as a salutation acknowledging a sacred joining together through the early years of my childhood. To learn that everyone else was saying this as a declaration of independence, celebrating a separation achieved through war required reconciling for me to see how they could co-exist. I came to realization that both were acknowledging the start of a family – one of two individuals and the children who would emerge and one of the states uniting under one flag.

New dissonance emerged after living in and loving, marrying a citizen of and parenting children with access to citizenship of the country from which secession was sought and celebrated. I learned to see how seeing, celebrating and loving these nations separately from the common space in my heart was possible.

Gaining awareness of the impact on the people native to the land that was declared home of ultimate freedom deepened that discord for me. Further reconciling still underway here. Much work remains to see, celebrate and love freedom when it is not equally accessible to all who reside under the flag that claims to offer it as such.