On Independence Day and every day, love what is best about America — Regina Brett (2024)

Every Independence Day, a wave of gratitude washes over me.

There is so much to love about this land of the free, this home of the brave, this America the beautiful. Even now.

I love…

The “we” in “We the people.” The Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights. The U.S. Constitution.

Juneteenth. Martin Luther King Day. Election Day. President’s Day.

NASA and those footprints on the moon.

Barbecues. Cookouts with potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, burgers and hot dogs. Cajun. Creole. Pizza that tastes different everywhere you go. Corn dogs. Chili dogs. Curly fries. Waffle fries.

Apple pie. Cherry pie. Key Lime Pie.

Root beer floats. co*ke. Pepsi. Mountain Dew. Gatorade. Water clean out of the tap.

Title IX. The G.I. Bill. Social Security. Medicare.

NPR. The NAACP. The ADL. The ACLU. The Southern Poverty Law Center. Every organization that works hard to fight anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination.

Baseball. Football. Basketball. Hockey. The World Series. Super Bowl Sunday. Tailgate parties.

Jackie Robinson. Jim Thome. Jose Ramirez. Venus and Serena Williams. LeBron James. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Simone Biles. The U.S. Open. The Kentucky Derby. The Triple Crown.

County fairs. Funnel cakes. Cotton candy. 4-H. Drive-In movies. High school marching bands. Parades. Scouts. Thin Mint cookies.

Dolly Parton. Beyonce. Garth. Willie Nelson. LL Cool J. Weird Al Yankovich. Stevie Wonder. Billie Eilish. Eminem. Madonna. Norah Jones. John Legend. Jay-Z. Springsteen. James Taylor. Lady Gaga. Barbra Streisand.

Elvis. Aretha. Ray Charles. Louis Armstrong. Prince. Nat King Cole. Ella Fitzgerald. Frank Sinatra.

Tater tots. Salt & vinegar chips. Ruffles. Doritos. Campbell’s soup. SpaghettiOs.

Cowboys, rodeos and wild horses. NASCAR.

Yellowstone. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. The Golden Gate Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge. The Outer Banks. The Great Lakes. The Rocky Mountains. The Appalachians. The Pacific Coast Highway. The redwoods.

Broadway. Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Hamilton.” Steven Sondheim. “West Side Story.” “Music Man.” “Into the Woods.” The Tony Awards.

Shark Week.

Capture the flag. Spud. Mini golf. Red Rover. Ghost in the graveyard. Flashlight tag. Sleepaway camp.

Bald eagles. Blue Heron. Moose. Elk. Bison.

New Orleans. New York. Chicago. Boston. L.A. Miami. Denver. D.C. Seattle. Cleveland.

Silicon Valley. Google. Facebook. Apple. The iPhone. The iPad.

Hollywood. Steven Spielberg. Kathryn Bigelow. Spike Lee. Tom Hanks. Meryl Streep. Viola Davis. Bradley Cooper. Denzel Washington. Shonda Rhymes. Jennifer Lopez. The Oscar Awards. The Golden Globes. Saturday Night Live. Oprah. Ellen. Stephen Colbert.

Netflix. Disney Plus. Amazon Prime. Hulu. Hallmark movies.

Poetry. Amanda Gorman. Wendell Berry. Mary Oliver. Robert Frost. Maya Angelou. Emily Dickinson.

Essays by Henry David Thoreau. Ralph Waldo Emerson. The 1619 Project.

Toni Morrison. Ernest Hemingway. Jesmyn Ward. Flannery O’Connor. Stephen King. Gertrude Stein. Michael Chabon. Jacquelyn Woodson. James Baldwin. Chaim Potok. Mark Twain.

Summer vacations. Sprinklers. Backyard pools. Interstates. Highways. Road trips. Ice cream stands.

Diners. McDonald’s. Burger King. Skyway. Swenson’s. Starbucks. DQ.

Peanut butter.

Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes. Pop-tarts.

Crayola. Play-Doh. Twister. Etch A Sketch.

Trader Joe’s. R.E.I. Dollar stores. Shopping malls. The Gap. Target. Old Navy. TJ Maxx. Walmart. Costco. Yard sales.

“The Simpsons.” “The Office.” “Ozark.” “Breaking Bad.” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” “Yellowstone.” “Star Trek.” “Star Wars.” “Hacks.”
Happy hour.

Free public restrooms.

Kermit the Frog. Smokey the bear. Slider. Catsup, Mustard and Onion racing at the baseball games.

The Smithsonian. The Stock Market. Southern hospitality.

Standup comics. Sarah Silverman. Chris Rock. Amy Schumer. Seth Rogen.

Thomas Edison. Harriet Tubman. Benjamin Franklin. The Wright brothers. Sojourner Truth. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sacajawea. John Glenn. Susan B. Anthony. John McCain. Liz Cheney. Adam Kinzinger.

Barack and Michelle Obama. Kamala Harris. Joe Biden. The Clintons. The Bush family. Jimmy Carter.

UPS. The United States Postal Service. Fed Ex.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Local law enforcement officers and rangers.

Hoodies. Baseball caps. Nike.

Superman. Marvel comics. DC comics. Wonder Woman. Batman.

Rock and roll. R&B. Rap. Jazz. Country. Folk. Soul. Hip hop. The Blues. Gospel. 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s music. Urban and country line dancing.

Libraries. Free books!

The #MeToo movement. Black Lives Matter. LGBTQ+ rights. The House Inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack. The Rule of Law. Three separate branches of government. The separation of church and state.

Thanksgiving. Memorial Day. Independence Day. Fireworks. Halloween. Trick-or-treating. Groundhog Day.

Comic-Con. Burning Man. Pride Month.

A free press.

America is home to 45 million immigrants, more than any other country. Our greatest asset?


It’s written on the Statue of Liberty as an invitation to all:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This Independence Day and every day, lift your lamp and shine the light of hope even brighter.

On Independence Day and every day, love what is best about America — Regina Brett (2024)
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