246 Years: Freedom, Innovation, and Independence

246 years. Today, the United States celebrates 246 years of freedom from Great Britain. Throughout those years, the U.S. has experienced innovation, power, and great triumphs. Americans have built a successful nation, victoriously won wars, and developed cutting edge technology. However, we have equally experienced controversy, hardships, and inequity. In the past decade alone, we have lived through a global pandemic, social injustices, controversial presidential elections, climate change, and so much more. 

This is a time of division in our country. This is a time of political arguments at the dinner table, protests in the cities, and anxiety of what the 6:00 p.m. news will bring. This is a time where many Americans feel confused on what freedoms they truly have. And though these are not ideal situations, we have the opportunity to participate in them.

We have the opportunity to challenge each other’s mindsets to make a difference. We have the opportunity to stand for the things that we believe in. We have the opportunity to openly and freely pursue our passions. We have the opportunity to publish articles and media—and as a journalist, I’m extremely thankful for that. 

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Despite the hardships, disagreements, and unrest that surrounds us every day—July 4 is a holiday dedicated to the celebration of the independence of our country, and the American people. The First Amendment grants Americans the right to freely express themselves, speak their truths, peacefully assemble, and create free media and press. With independence comes the ability to freely express oneself for who they truly are, both physically and emotionally. 

While celebrating the 246th Independence Day, we have the chance to celebrate every American’s beliefs, perspective, and appearance. Without the diversity of our country, our growth would be limited to the mind of only one. Today, we can ask ourselves what this independence means to each of us. What freedoms does the U.S. hold that allow us to truly be us? How can we use our freedoms to continue making the U.S. a better country? How does independence make us a stronger nation, united? 

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