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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrating Independence and Freedom*

Happy Birthday, America!

Today, our entire nation celebrates Independence Day. The Stars and Stripes will be proudly displayed everywhere. Outdoor festivities will be held to celebrate the greatness and independence of America, the land of the free. 

Amidst our fun-filled celebration, let's pause for a moment and remember our valiant veterans who have sacrificed for our sake; our men and women of the armed forces who are deployed or stationed here and on foreign shores, who are fighting for and preserving the freedom we cherish and enjoy.

Let's give thanks to our veterans for their service to our country. Above all, let's thank God for the bountiful blessings we have received and continue to receive. And, in unison, let's say this simple prayer: God bless America!

What comes to mind when we think of July 4? Fireworks? Family outings, picnics in the park? Hamburgers and hotdogs with family and friends on the porch or in the backyard? A day off from work? The most spectacular summer event filled with fun and frenzy? All of the above? 

Since July 4 falls on Thursday, many workers out there probably plan to take Friday off, so they have a four-day holiday weekend. Undoubtedly, many of us are on the road to summer getaways somewhere. And once again, we're amazed to see the beaches, resorts, theme parks and oceanfront teeming with visitors from other places.

To those will be picking up the slack after July 4th, I offer my sincere appreciation. Kudos and more power and good health to you all, especially to our armed forces, police officers, and healthcare providers. My two thumbs up for your service and dedication.

The annual celebration of Independence Day in the United States commemorates the formal adoption by the Continental Congress of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia. Although the signing of the Declaration was not completed until August, the Fourth of July holiday has been accepted as the official anniversary of U.S. independence from Britain, and is celebrated in all 50 states, and territories of the U.S., including Guam and Puerto Rico.

In celebrating the 4th of July, I'd like to share with you my poem below:

The Fourth of July

I was born on the Fourth of July.
Each year, I celebrate my freedom,
My independence and liberty
Cherished and enjoyed by all
My people of different colors
From all corners of the world,
Who desire to live with me
To share with me their hopes
Their sentiments and frustrations,
Their dreams and aspirations 
To make our world a better place;
To let others live and be free,
United and liberated, like me.

With pride and power,
Valor and vigilance,
I celebrate my birthday
With fond memories of my past,
My history that I inherited
From my forebears and forefathers;
The history that I wrought
For all generations to keep.

With spectacular fireworks all around
And parade of colors here and there,
My Independence reigns everywhere
And I exult with glee and jubilation;
With open arms and loving heart
I welcome all who seek refuge,
Who long for peace and brotherhood,
Offering everyone my freedom,
Justice, liberty, and democracy
Pride, power, and prosperity,
Beauty, equality, and security...
Wishing all a fair and equal share
Of all my blessings from Above!

Today is a very special day
To commemorate my Independence;
A day of unity and victory,
Remembering our men and women
Who sacrificed their precious lives
From wars fought and won,
From crises overcome and resolved...
A day of thanksgiving for all
Who served and are serving me,
Protecting me and other's lives,
Keeping me strong and always ready
To watch, care, and lead our world!

(c) 2013 by Chris A. Quilpa

Happy Fourth of July!

-CHRIS A. QUILPA is a retired U.S. Navy veteran and long-time resident of Suffolk. Email him at

*Published in Suffolk News-Herald's Opinion page, July 4, 2013. Visit their website at

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