Martha Randolph Carr: Take time to reflect on our nation’s unique liberties |

Martha Randolph Carr: Take time to reflect on our nation’s unique liberties

Martha Randolph Carr

Take a moment this Sunday on the Fourth of July as we’re gathered around picnic tables, pools, the beach or in a town square or city park to say a little something about what you’re grateful for about America.

Put down the hot dog and really give it a little thought.

We have all come through so much together in recent years and it hasn’t given us much time to reflect about anything. If you were laid off from a job it’s probably even been a little harder to come up with much to feel good about, but it’s there and it’s worth remembering.

In America we celebrate the politicians who have opinions that we can’t stand. We support the groups that are working for a cause that we don’t think is right and we defend the faiths we don’t even understand. Imagine how much grace it took at our founding to want to hold up as ideal the idea that we don’t know everything and are willing to be wrong.

That’s why great things are always being discovered by Americans whether they were born here or just recently emigrated. It’s because we can let our thoughts wander without fear of retribution and sometimes those thoughts lead to new cures or inventions.

We don’t restrain the opinions of others even if they make our blood boil and even better, we often listen and then debate them back. Pushing at our intellectual boundaries has often lead us to make great changes like making sure every single citizen, regardless of race, gets the chance to vote.

Or, even after 9/11 when we were all so frightened we took a breath and stood up for our neighbors who worshipped at mosques and we tried to listen rather than react.

Our ability to respond like that in moments of such great national grief is the legacy handed down to us by all of those great men and women who helped found this country based on a hope they had of a free society that might be fulfilled in the generations to come after them.

Take a moment this Sunday and look around at the celebrations that are happening in towns everywhere across America. Listen for awhile to neighbors arguing over the Cubs versus the White Sox or new financial laws versus a free market or even whether or not stem cell research is a blessing or not and rejoice. Tomorrow is another day and those of us fortunate enough to call America home will get another chance to go out there and talk about it some more.

• Martha Randolph Carr’s latest book is the memoir, “A Place to Call Home.” Visit