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Happy July 4, Malibu

Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
11:30 am PDT July 8, 2014

The vast majority of us are lucky enough never to have been confronted with the cost of our own freedom. 

Many of us will be sitting on porches, leaning from balconies or digging our toes into the Malibu sand as we look up in awe at the fireworks dotting the night sky on Friday. We’ll be enjoying our families, our surroundings and our freedom. 

Living in Boston for several years, I came closer than I’d ever been to truly witnessing the cost of the freedoms we enjoy in this country. In a city so filled with deep-rooted history, where the stories that are so ingrained in our American culture originated, it was hard not to experience moments of awe at our still young, but still beloved country. 

Most places I went around Boston, or New England in general, paid tribute to various historical figures with statues, monuments, plaques or dedications. The names and faces from books and movies that had bored me to tears not many years before were all of a sudden placed in their historical setting and it was far easier to grasp their meaning in the greater scheme of our collective American story.

Certainly, as Americans, we do not come from an unmarred past. We are a flawed country, part of a larger, flawed world. But there is beauty in placing our flaws amongst those of the rest of the world; placing our story within the greater framework of global history. 

July 4 celebrates America and our rise to independence and the relative freedom that we enjoy today. As a journalist, a woman and an American citizen, I can recognize how far my individual freedoms have come in each of those categories. I worship them and value the people before me who did not have them, but whose actions directly allowed me to have mine. But there is so much progress yet to make in our American story and in the global framework within which it exists.

Maybe we won’t all go out and make finite changes to our American story with bold, red pen. But maybe we might all benefit from confronting ourselves with the cost of our own freedom and taking a moment, surrounded by the sand, the ocean and our loved ones to reflect on the freedoms we should continue to seek for ourselves and for others. 

The American story is a work in progress that we’re all entitled to make edits to.