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Lifestyles

June 30, 2012

Teenhood Today: Celebrate Fourth of July with pride

Have you ever realized how amazing our country really is? I mean, sure there are wars, strict government laws and high prices on rice pudding, but on the whole, America rocks!

Think about it, you can go to church without wondering if you will be killed. You can speak your mind without fearing jail. You can leave the country without having to bribe the security guard at the airport (true story).

We are truly blessed to call ourselves Americans! But sadly, we don't.

People tend to label themselves as Democrat vs. Republican, atheist vs. Christian, coffee-drinker vs. non-coffee-drinker. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having your own beliefs and challenging the ideas of others, but sometimes we take it too far. We get so caught up in proving our differences that we loose sight of our similarities.

And our similarities just happen to outweigh our differences.

We have all pledged our allegiance to the American flag, belted our national anthem, and taken off our hats at baseball games to honor our country. We all crowd around the TV armed with chicken wings and pizza to watch the Super Bowl.

We all pay about $3.50 for gas. We all think the world is over when the power goes out and throw a temper tantrum when the woodchuck has chewed our Internet cables into nonexistence again. We all rely on music and a gallon of ice cream to solve any and all of our problems. We all know that whenever a mythological creature attacks the world, it will most likely attack New York City.

We all take our privileges for granted.

In many countries, the government decides your religion and anyone who dares to defy that religion will be tortured or put to death. You remember reading about these things in your history textbooks, but have you ever realized that this still happens today?

Are you thankful that you can choose to believe and worship or not believe that there is a God?

We should be thankful because there are thousands of people who would love to be in your position. In fact, people die every day wishing they had freedom of religion.

Have you ever said a strong remark about a figure in authority and immediately searched the room for cameras and tried to hide, hoping that no one heard what you said? Of course not! We are so privileged to be able to say anything we want. We are not punished if we speak our minds. What a blessing for us outspoken individuals! And yet we take it for granted.

July Fourth is right around the corner. A day that is typically filled with cookouts, family and fireworks. July Fourth is an American tradition. It is a day to realize our many privileges as Americans. A day to remember how we received those privileges and who sacrificed for us. A day for us to look beyond our differences and find the many similarities between all Americans.

The Fourth of July should be more than a fireworks show, it should be a reminder that we are very similar _ a reminder that "all men are created equal" (The Declaration of Independence).

Miriam A. Thurber is a rising sophomore at Unatego Central School. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.

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