Independence, Liberty, Freedom – Not Synonyms

Posted on July 4, 2011. Filed under: Communications, Fourth of July, Leadership, Small Business, Writing | Tags: , , , , |


Of course you might know that if I do a post about Fourth of July, it has to have something to do with communication. I can’t help it.

I’m not big at patriotic flag waving. my connection to my country is an emotional thing deep inside. It gets stirred at odd moments. Like today we went to pick up mulch at a Home  Depot near Jeff next to the Palisades Center Mall, a huge place with an iMAX theater, a traditional multi-plex cinema, hundreds of stores, and lots of restaurants and entertainment venues.

We saw hundreds of clean cut-looking young people walking across the parking lot from a slew of buses parked in a remote area. As they approached, we saw that they were wearing polo shirts with small patches on the pockets that said either West Point or Army on them.

We asked a couple of the group members what was up and they said, “Oh, sir and ma’am, we have the day off. We’re at liberty today.” The thought of these young people marching toward a mall to spend a carefree day at liberty after what I know is a tough normal regime for them, gave me that love of country feeling. How fortunate I was to be in the same place as these kids who will undoubtedly see some level of combat during their service.

So there’s a use of the word ‘liberty’ that took on special meaning on this day.

When I think of independence, I think about our responsibility to seek after our own ideas, to be accountable for ourselves and our actions — to work effectively within groups, but to be able to stand on our own two feet. And sometimes to be independent enough to ask for and accept help when we need it.

And when it comes to freedom, I think of it as our greatest blessing in a democracy like our own. Yet I also see it as a concept delimited by the needs of others in addition to our own.

My sweetheart, who served our country when he was as young as those kids today as a US Marine in Viet Nam during the Tet Offensive just pulled up on his Harley. He allows me the independence to take time from a holiday to keep up with some business chores and my blog and I’m going to wrap this up and go take a motorcycle ride. That feels pretty free, too – riding into the wind.

Just one other thought…Has anyone reading this ever attended a naturalization ceremony and been witness to people leaving behind allegiance to their birth countries and committing themselves to becoming U.S. citizens? It’s an amazing experience and I recommend it to all of you!

Happy Fourth!!

Image by West Point Public Affairs under Creative Commons License.

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