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Let freedom ring!

July 3, 2023

39 years ago I came to the United States, a young 24 year old German girl, to tour the West Coast and Canada with a music group before going to Bluefield, West Virginia to learn English. I only “knew” America from Bonanza, and the A-Team. I did not understand the language or culture and had only met Americans at College or as tourists who could not hold their liquor and were loud.

But I fell in love with the US, well, really, I fell in love with the people of the US. Their optimism, their creativity, their freedom, was something new for this girl who grew up in dysfunction and had little hope to ever live up to my potential in Germany. You see America for me, really is the country where dreams come true, where you can work hard and move forward and upward, where people from all walks of life have an opportunity to make a living and carve out a bit of the American dream.

I understand it was relatively easy for me, being white from a European country, I did not have to deal with racism. Only a few times was I called a “Nazi” and only a few things stood in my way.

Here I am almost 40 years later and I am able to run a non-profit, Jim and I (almost) own a home, we have friends and a faith community, we have a place we call home for now. That is America!

But my heart breaks for the many friends who struggle to live up to their potential, who were brought over here as young children, because their parents tried to protect them from a violent world. My heart breaks for the many amazing people who I meet who cannot live up to their potential because they don’t have the right papers (and it is almost impossible to get them), who work harder than I ever have, and yet cannot accomplish their dreams.

My heart breaks for the people who have amazing educations in their own country but don’t get to practice it because of educational differences.

My heart breaks for the friends I have whose skin color or beliefs still cause fear in others, although they are gentler than I am and wiser in many ways.

July 4th is a reminder that we can step out of the world of tyranny, step away from leaders who care more about reputation than truth. Who care more about their careers than their leadership. Who care more about stuff than people.

I understand that America is not perfect, but we still have the freedom to vote, the freedom to live our lives in relative ease, the freedom to move out of this country if we do not like it.

My sister from Germany was here last week and we talked about the fact that every person in every country thinks the best and the worse of their country and never realizes that the same issues of justice, freedom, opportunities are searched for wherever we go.

So, let’s celebrate our freedom, but also ensure that this freedom is offered to others who do not have a voice yet.

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