July 4, 2019 brings us another birthday for the United States of America. 243 years ago in 1776, the founding fathers declared independence from the British colonial rule. For this they had to go to war. While George Washington led the fight, elders from 13 different colonies continued to arrange supplies for his troops. With the help from the French, the colonies prevailed. Now, the United States of America became a new country. In order to conduct the business the founding fathers wrote a Constitution which acknowledging from the beginning that "all men are created equal" guaranteed its citizens the liberty of "the pursuit of happiness".

The United States became a republic, a few years before the French Revolution. While the French continued through many ups and downs, the American Revolution continued on a straight path. Over the years there were social unrests and conflicts. But the Constitution provided the country its strength to overcome them all. After every crisis it became stronger. Today the United States has become a magnet to attract talents from around the world. Even those who do not like its system of democracy send their children to be trained in its universities. The reason is that the young minds also get training to think freely.

The founding fathers made sure that the country is run by the rule of law; not by the rule of men. In spite of their individual failings in many ways, they proved to be men of exceptional intelligence. The system they has been followed in many parts of the world. The Constitution of America has remained the main source of attraction for many. Any political movement that tries to bring power to the people calls for democracy. It is the adult franchise in the form of one vote for each adult to choose representative(s) to a governing body- a Parliament or Senate or any other legislating body - that has remained a source of inspiration. America must be proud of such an invention.

Sadly, in many places elected leaders, once elected by the people, remain in power forever. Because such leaders also control their country's military, they make their citizens afraid. In such a situation the country as a whole becomes weak and citizens lose hope. In frustration, if there is any protest against the regime at all, then it is suppressed vigorously. The United States because what it is and what it stands for becomes a torch bearer for people of those lands. Many try to reach its shore any way they can to escape tyranny and hopelessness. For centuries, people from outside have arrived in the US in desperation. Once settled, they have made their contribution to their new home. Yet every new ethnic group after arriving has faced scorn and hostility from those who have been here for some time.

Today while the country is celebrating its birthday, thousands of immigrants are waiting at its southern border to get in. They too want to be a part of the celebration. But there are some who do not want these newcomers. The current administration has become the cheer leader for them. Given the history of the United States this kind of behavior is nothing new. As they say "This too would pass". A celebration of America's birthday means a celebration of American values. Other people want to share its "can do" attitude; its sense of equality handed down by the framers; its rule of law and its devotion to the equality among people. Yes, it has plenty of material wealth. It is the richest country that ever has been created. Needless to say the United States could not have been the richest or the most powerful country in the world without adhering to its basic principles and values.

The Fourth of July is a day of celebration - fireworks, beach parties, picnics and cook outs. Given the history of this day, it also tells us to help others gain freedom from poverty, oppression and tyranny. We salute America on her birthday.

( My latest book of fiction BLOWN AWAY, published by Black Eagle books, is available now through Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble book stores. I encourage you to ask your local library to carry a copy of this book. Blown Away tells the story of a family in India before independence. - A.N.

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