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  • Brattain

Wednesday, July 03, 2019 1:00 am

Independence Day, 2019

Shaun Brattain

Shaun Brattain of Fort Wayne works for a medical device supplier.

I was recently asked by my employer what the Fourth of July looks like to me. The context was “how patriotic does your celebration look? Are there guns being fired? Do the A-10s flying training missions add to your celebration? Is Toby Keith playing in the background?” Things of this nature. It was meant to be a feel-good piece.

The company I work for does this on a regular basis, and it goes a long way to boost morale and build a family atmosphere. I'd say I'm quite fortunate to work for a company that makes things like this a priority.

However, this particular post didn't have the effect it normally does for me. Earlier that morning before I came to work, I was in tears because I woke up to an image of a young father and his 23-month-old daughter lying face down in the Rio Grande. His only crime was seeking a better life for his family. His only crime was seeking for his family the freedom we are all about to celebrate.

He wasn't a “bad hombre.” He wasn't “a rapist, or a murderer.” He wasn't a member of MS-13; in fact, he was fleeing fromMS-13.

So, I decided to frame my response not as what the Fourth of July looks like to those who were handed freedom, but instead what the Fourth of July looks like to those who seek freedom so desperately that they are willing to risk everything to get it. This was my response:

Imagine waking up on the fourth of July, but you are waking up in a cage. Imagine waking up on the fourth of July, but you are waking up in a tent city line you've been in for weeks or months on end. Imagine waking up on the fourth of July, but you have no clue that it's the fourth of July because you've been walking for thousands of miles to escape violence and tyranny. Imagine waking up on the fourth of July, and you have no clue where your children are because they have been kidnapped from you because you crossed an imaginary line. Then imagine how you would feel when the people who kidnapped your children take the day off to celebrate the very freedom you were seeking to give your family.

At some point in time, all of our families here at [insert name of any company in America] (with the exception of a very few whose families have always lived here, or the minority of people whose families were brought here against their will) undertook this same journey for freedom. A journey for the proverbial Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

You see, we have a very big problem here in “the good ol' USA.” We seem to have forgotten the most important part of the “Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness” line from the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (humans) are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.” “Self-evident” means these rights are so obvious that they shouldn't need to be written down and every human has them by virtue of being human.

Therein lies the problem, ladies and gentlemen. What Americans are currently doing at our southern border is in direct contrast to this very line. To get around it, they look at these people as subhuman. They have to, otherwise their Fourth of July celebration would be rife with hypocrisy (not that that seems to be a problem with today's culture).

The discharging of firearms, war planes and getting “a boot up your ass” mean something very different to those who seek freedom. And I find that very ironic coming from a country that was founded by immigrants. A country whose only real claim to greatness has been its willingness to accept the “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” These are the real people who made America great. What we are doing now in the name of freedom is nothing short of an embarrassment.

To answer the question, what the Fourth of July looks like to me this year is this...