July 3, 2003


Fourth of July – a time to celebrate freedom

In years past we generally celebrated the Fourth of July as an opportunity to enjoy the long weekend, the joy of barbecuing, and of course, the fireworks, with a glancing acknowledgement of the meaning of the Fourth of July.

But this year it is different. This year American troops are at war in Iraq dying on the sands of this far-away country, fighting to provide the people of Iraq their freedom. We are reminded that freedom is something that has to be fought for and that it comes at a very high cost. We are reminded that this is what the men and women of the American Revolution were about and the price that they paid so that, today, we can enjoy the land of the free and the home of the brave. We are reminded that the forefathers of our country had a vision, hopes and dreams that they cherished and died for, a vision that lives today.

On the front-pages of today’s issue of La Prensa San Diego, we published a story of one family’s struggles, hopes and dreams of immigrating to America. This was just one story of 33 different stories of families that came from all over the world to share in the vision of our forefathers. These families fled their country to escape communism, poverty, dictatorships, political turmoil, warlords, economic destruction, civil war, to name a few. They came to America because America offered hope, safety, and freedom, ideals that make America great!

Yet today, many of these ideals and principles that make our country great are under attack. We are witness to changes in the Bill of Rights and the basic concepts of the Constitution of the United States! We watch as it is now okay for the federal government to monitor our public library use. It is now okay for the government to spy on its citizenery denying the right to privacy. We sit and watch as the due process of law is diminished. We sit and watch as our country is thrust into a war, not through Congressional approval, but by executive action, and apparently not based on stated objectives.

This Fourth of July we need to re-examine the vision of our forefathers, review our Constitution and the Bill of Rights and remind ourselves what makes this country great – we the people. We the people have the power to create change, most significantly through the power of our vote.

Enjoy the Fourth of July, but let us remember that freedom comes at a very high price, which cost way too much to give away. We must remain vigilant in maintaining the ideals of freedom and not lose the vision of our forefathers!

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