The Young American

Growing up in the United States of America has been a real privilege. What follows is the chronicle of one young man as he contemplates freedom.


I was out and about with my father today,
Spending the time in the very best way,
Looking for fireworks, on the Fourth of July,
He taught me to shop with a critical eye,
To steward my savings comin’ thro’ rye,
With his help, I learned what I should do.
I grew up in a home where no money was due,
My father worked hard and taught his kids to,
Hoping one day, they would take it to heart,
Mother stayed home and schooled us from the start,
Teaching us much and playing her noble part,
Not out of duty, because she felt it was right.
I knew from day one that we had been given light,
That if every home had this they just might,
Learn that love should be shown, for it was ample,
My brothers and sisters gave me a sample,
Of living with others and being an example,
Even through the tough times, we did not forget.
I climbed the hill with barely a sweat,
The rolling fields did not make us fret,
It was here, we celebrated Independence Day,
We ate together and talked of The Way,
How everything in life was going to be okay,
Then the sun went down, and the valley was dark.
I moved from the group holding my spark,
Hearing my father say I had reached my mark,
The firework was ready, so I lit it and ran,
We looked on as the flame reached the can,
Excited to see things go according to plan,
But no red glare came, no rockets burst in the air.
I closed my eyes as tears welled up there,
My mother took me into her arms with care,
And all of us turned, preparing to go home,
Then all of a sudden the hills shone like chrome,
Bombs burst in mid-air and filled up the dome,
As thousands of fireworks erupted, halting my flow.
I stood there amazed at the beautiful glow,
When my father bent down to explain the show,
“We celebrate with them, even when our light fades.”
What rush of emotion I felt before those cascades,
Like the rest of the nation had rushed in as aides,
And there I learned more, about living…free.

I look back on those years and can’t help but express my gratitude. My hand shakes slightly as I write these words, but not from fear of danger in the trenches; I hope one day I can make such a lasting impression on my children.

There are a lot of things I’d like to do in this life, but the first one is to finish today, this month, and this year as a free citizen. As kids, we learned to want the things we needed most: two parents, how to follow God, the value of hard work, and the importance of respecting all people.

We were given the world — soon it will be our turn to make it better.

Laugh, live, and worship as you please, so long as it doesn’t stop someone else from doing the same. Enjoy what we have and remember the cost that has been paid. Relish the journey and teach the next generation to respect the cornerstone of this great nation: freedom.

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