Here we are looking at another Fourth of July, the day we celebrate the independence of the United States, and I wonder if any of us have reflected on what independence is on a personal level.
Over the past 30+ years, I have been deeply involved with thousands upon thousands of men and women who truly understand the meaning of independence. These men and women vary from veterans of our military forces to incarcerated people and even those who are fighting drug and alcohol addiction. Each of these people understands what independence is.
Independence is not a physical thing. Independence is something that God has given us deep inside and that the United States recognizes as a right to each and every individual who lives in this great country. We have all been created equally, and we all struggle for the same goals, for the same desires, with the same hopes and dreams. All of these may have different titles, but deep down in the core of every person, they are the same.
This Fourth of July, do yourself a favor and sit down with your family, with your loved ones, with your friends, and share what you think about the personal independence that you have. Look at how that independence was brought to you, and be thankful for the veterans who have voluntarily put themselves in harm's way to provide that for you.
Also, remember those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and need to fight for their independence, and find a way to reach out to them. We all have them in our family, friends, or colleagues -- each of us has been touched by someone who struggles with these challenges. Some of us have also been victims of crime -- we all have challenges in common.
Let's consider becoming free from the fears, anger, and desires that are associated with these struggles. And finally, remember those in prison who have lost their independence because of behavior issues that have cost them dearly.
Be safe, have fun, enjoy family, and celebrate what true independence is!
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."
Jon Lowry, Re-Entry Director of Transitional Programs