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American flag over Library Square

Wow!  The United States of America is 233 years old today.  The American colonies declared its independence from Great Britain that fateful year, and the rest as they say, is history.   But what incredible changes have swept the world since that fateful penning of the Declaration of Independence

  • The U.S. has grown from 13 states to 50 states, from former colonies to the world’s superpower.
  • We have moved from an agricultural, horse-and-carriage culture to one that embraces incredible advances in technology – fast cars, jet-setting airplanes, instant connectedness with the Internet and more.
  • We have grown from an era where slavery was widely accepted, to inaugurating our first Black president in 2009.

To think that much of our progress stems from our founding fathers’ belief in this idea:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Every time I come across these words, I’m inspired and moved.  I feel lucky that this idea has seeped into our nation’s consciousness and shaped the constitution and supported legislations that have bettered the lives of generations of Americans since the ink dried on the Declaration in 1776.

Being of Chinese descent, I’m fortunate, that because I live in 2009, I have been spared the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.  I’m fortunate that they lifted the ban on inter-racial marriages in 1967, or my husband and I, or several of our friends, would not be allowed to marry today.

To many of us, it is a tough year to celebrate.  After all, we are in a deep recession, with unemployment at 9.5%, and the yoyo-ing stock market hard on the faint of heart.

Then again, we pause on July 4th to look at the Declaration again, that no matter what happens, we have unalienable rights.  And no matter how big the challenges are, we have the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Thank you, our founding fathers.  Happy Birthday, America!

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