I love being from Philadelphia. It is a place of opportunity. As an example, when I was kid I touched the Liberty Bell. Like uncounted Philadelphia children before me, I walked right up to it, and stuck my little fingers in the crack, below the bolt holding the crack from widening. I still remember the cold feel of the metal and the angled metal of the crack. It was a school trip to Independence Hall, the former Pennsylvania State House, and coincidentally the place where the Second Continental Congress met , and ratified the Declaration of Independence on July 4th her, 1776.
It didn’t mean much to my family when it happened, because they were is different parts of Eastern Europe living lives that ranged from tough to marginal to unbearable. About 100 years later however, the actions of those men, in that place, meant they had an option. There was a place where they could live their lives as they wished, raise their children, and succeed if they worked hard. So they came to what they called the Golden Medina (the Golden Country). They worked hard, they learned English, and they raised their children to love their adopted country. And love it they did, with a deep and abiding passion that impelled them to make sacrifices in defense of the country when called on, and to pass that passion on to their children and Grandchildren.
Its July 4th, and I’m feeling real grateful and sentimental. I’m spending the weekend on holiday, celebrating our country’s birthday with millions of my fellow Americans. I was on the road to the New Jersey shore yesterday behind a car with a bumper sticker that said “My son’s a Marine – Sleep Well America, He’s Got your Back!”.
It made me want to call every person serving in our armed forces and thank them personally for allowing me to live in a place where my daily concerns revolve around whether Twitter is working well, or if duplicate blogs are a problem, or buying blog content is a difficult moral issue. I need to thank them for allowing me the privilege of living in a place where getting dressed well and going into an air conditioned office is considered hard work, and where I can whine about single digit mortgage rates.
Its easy to take for granted where we live ,how we live, and the rights we enjoy every day without thinking. And with gas at record prices and a tough economy, every day can be a challenge. But under the worst of circumstances we still live in the best place in the world. A place where we can speak, blog, and create as we wish. A place where home ownership is achieved by a huge number of our citizens, and everyone has potential to achieve and excel that is matched in few places around the world.
As a favor to me , just for today, be grateful for what we have and the opportunities that await us in the future. After traveling to many wonderful places in the world, I truly believe that we live in one of the best places anywhere with a system, that no matter how imperfect, beats the pants off the alternatives, – and it all started in Philadelphia.
Happy Birthday Everyone – Hope We all share lots more of these.