4th of July is like any other day in Germany, I’ll go to work with my colleagues. But before I began the Monday routine, I hopped on my bike for a quick spin along the Rhein. As I rode through the city and then the countryside, I reflected on what freedom means to me. 

Freedom is hosting a bbq with your neighbors in the driveway with the country music blaring and a cold can of bud light in your hand.

Freedom is spontaneously taking off for a ride on your favorite two wheeler with a friend, or alone, and going from the mountains, to the desert, to the beach all in a day.

Freedom is marrying the person you love regardless of race, religion, gender or creed.

Freedom is going through high school and college, getting a steady job and working until retirement OR

Freedom is deciding to drop out of the mainstream, backpack for three months after high school and then go to college and get a job OR

Freedom is deciding college isn’t for you and boldly carving out a life that fits your personality free from the constraints of conventional society.

Freedom is living in a caste-free society and freely choosing your friends and companions from all walks of life.

Freedom is owning a house and a car and a motorcycle that were purchased at a reasonable tax rate.

Freedom is the choice to buy the house and car and motorcycle by taking on debt or saving up your money first and then purchasing them.

Freedom is choosing to live in a neighborhood where everybody looks like you or nobody looks like you and feeling like you are where you are meant to be.

Freedom is being able to travel to nearly any country in the world via an airport that is probably 2 hours or less drive from your home.

Freedom is knowing that in every country where you travel you are an ambassador of America and a symbol of the freedom we enjoy and for which many people will make any sacrifice to achieve.

Freedom is the confidence that your ballot counts on Election Day.

Freedom is the right to own a gun and be trained to use it properly to defend your life and the lives of fellow Americans.

On this Independence Day, I entreat you to remember that we can exercise these freedoms because, and only because, a soldier freely signed over a large chunk of his life and personal freedoms to be on the front-line to defend these rights.

Today, while you join your fellow Americans to celebrate, please remember these precious freedoms and treat them with the respect they deserve. 

Cheers!

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