One of the most important things that being an American gives me is freedom. Having grown up in, and then subsequently leaving the FLDS society–which was very oppressive and ultra-conservative, freedom is a big deal to me. The more in balance freedom and responsibility are, the more they work together towards good. 
The 4th of July is also a special time to reflect on the important people and institutions that have made our country what it is today. Our country is something that we enjoy 365 days a year, but we should take a day out of our usual routines to reflect on and appreciate it.

I also have a son who is active military in the U.S. Army. Certainly, that experience has changed the level of understanding for me of the amount of gratitude that our veterans deserve. I have a soon-to-be daughter-in-law who is in the military as well (she is marrying my son who is in the Army), so our military family is growing. I’m so proud of them and all they do and sacrifice for our freedoms and so many of the things that we take for granted.

This 4th of July, I wish you and your family and friends a wonderful day of rest, relaxation, reflection, and celebration in honor of our country’s Independence Day. May we cherish it always and never take it for granted.