We The People
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
This coming Saturday is July 4—Independence Day. A special day in our country and one of my favorites. I had the privilege of growing up in a family of immigrants and first-generation Americans. Both sets of my grandparents were immigrants, my mom is an immigrant, and as many of you know, my wife was born and raised in Austria. So, my dad was a first-generation American, I am a first-generation American, and my kids are first-generation American. Our family chose to become citizens of this great land. Some passed through Ellis Island, others were processed on a ship, and I suppose my wife was processed at JFK airport. My relatives relinquished citizenship from their home countries to take up United States citizenship.
I remember when my wife was becoming a citizen, it was quite a process. She had waited the five years required and had to pass a citizenship test. As I was helping her study the questions, I wondered if citizens born and schooled in this country could answer them. I have to say, most would not be able to pass the test. Well, she passed the test with flying colors (red, white, and blue, of course), I’m sure was charming in the interview, and later joined a room full of other new Americans pledging their allegiance to Old Glory and the country she represents. I was so proud of her that day!
Is there any wonder why July 4th is a big deal in the Freund family? We love to celebrate it and reflect on how truly blessed we are to be here. Is our country perfect? No, not at all. That’s why the preamble of our constitution reads “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.”
Did you notice the phrase in order to form a more perfect union? It is also preceded by “We the people.” We, the people, have been entrusted to continue the process of forming a more perfect union. Since it’s ratification on June 21, 1788, the citizenry of our great nation have continued the process, adding 27 amendments to address concerns and issues that have arisen. As you reflect this weekend, be thankful for what you have. Be thankful for the opportunity to live in the oldest democracy in place at this time. That’s right, our Republic is the oldest—established and ratified on June 21, 1788. Switzerland was next in 1848, New Zealand in 1857, Canada in 1867, and the United Kingdom in 1885.
Standing outside Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “What do we have, a Republic or a Monarchy?” His response was, “You have a Republic, if you can keep it.” Are you willing to help keep it? You start by appreciating what you have. Please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 159 of The Next Page podcast as we share some interesting facts and memories of the 4th of July.