Independence Day is a Hard Day for Me


Independence Day is a hard day for me.

How do you love the land you call home, yet is ravaged by war, greed and corruption?
How do you love the land where black and brown bodies are considered less than and are killed unjustly?
How do you love the land that was built on the spilled blood of the First Peoples?
How do you love a land that keeps refugees at the other side of the border and away from their children?
How do you love a land that boasts being “the land of the free,” when true freedom remains only a dream in a speech?

While the rest of the country colors the sky with red, white and blue and joins in the chorus of the Star Spangled Banner, I am filled with anguish and pain. Where is this freedom we sing about and celebrate?

I love this land. I call it home. It was here my immigrant parents welcomed me into the world. It was here where I followed my dreams. It was here where I found love and friendship. It was here where I learned to wrestle and dance with the Divine.

This land has let me choose the road I wanted to travel. But this land has not offered the same grace to others.

This is the land that gives more options to the privileged and wealthy—the few who determine who gets to have a seat at the table. What I see is that the ones with access to resources have turned their backs on the ones without. The ones in power have refused to empower those without.

This is not the land of the free. This is the land that cries out to be free.

This land will not be free until everyone is free. This land will not be free until everyone gets a seat at the table. This land will not be free until we start the difficult and necessary work of reconciliation.

We are far from freedom. There’s still a lot of work left to do.

I love this land of greed and grace.

It is because I love this land that I roll up my selves and continue the work towards peace, justice and freedom. It is because I love this land that I relinquish apathy and remain in the arena ravaged in war, greed and corruption, and speak into life the freedom we are meant to live into.

Today, on Independence Day, may we ponder first who is truly free. May we recognize that our freedom is tied to the freedom of everyone else. May we not bow down to the privileged, the wealthy, the greedy and the powerful, but instead roll up our sleeves and start the difficult and necessary work of reconciliation and dismantling the oppressive social order.

May we get to work because until we are all free, none of us are free.

Leah Abraham
Leah is a storyteller + writer + journalist + creative + empathizing romantic + pessimistic realist + ISFP + Enneagram type 2 + much more. She lives in the Seattle area where she works as an education reporter and features writer. Bonus facts: She loves the great indoors, hates to floss, and is obsessed with Korean food and her dorky, immigrant family.
Leah Abraham
Leah Abraham

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  1. Yes! If I didn’t love this land, I wouldn’t care so much about its injustice. Thank you for this beautiful balance of action and grace.

  2. Today is a day we celebrate the fight for freedom others have fought and won. And our history reflects how we have continued to fight corruption, greed, slavery, etc. Our history is not a delicate, pretty thing, but a mighty thing. Just like all great stories, it is filled with conflict as good struggled against evil. I’m glad you are rolling up your sleeves. And you’re surrounded by many (most!) who are doing the same. And some of those people are wealthy. Some of those people may appear entitled to you. Some of those people may have different views on how to protect, and how to fight for freedom. While those views in HOW the problems are solved may differ, this land is filled with strength and compassion and goodness. I wish we could see THAT, instead seeing through the magnification lens of us-against-them. Then freedom and courage would reign, so we continue to struggle TOGETHER Instead of falling under the spell of desperate woe I feel from reading, not just your
    words, but the words of so many others.

    • Thank you for your comment, Carla. I wonder where you are hearing the “desperate woe?” Not just here, but in other places. I wonder if it may be something to lean in to, rather than to want to dismiss. Is it possible the voices of “desperate woe” may have something to tell us? Maybe they have seen a different landscape? Maybe they have walked in a different story? Yes, we need to walk together. But we can can’t walk together by dismissing voices that don’t sing the same song.

  3. Tammie says:

    Powerful beautiful. I so agree! Thank you for the most truthful and honest post about this holiday in our world today.

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