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Long ago, before our country was the pinnacle of democracy, it was an experiment undertaken by people who said, “No more!” They were oppressed, and fed up with the treatment from their government and decided it was time to rebel and move forward in a different direction. Pen in hand, they crafted something that shook and changed the world.

I do not think everything each one did individually was always right or good, but because their courage to look forward, I have never known the oppression they faced; I have never known the oppression many have faced because they stared down those in power and control with the shout of, “No more!” The rebellion we celebrate today, the Civil Rights Movement, and the right for women to vote shape my reality in ways many who went before me dreamed of. We have always been a country of dreamers.

I think we forget what democracy costs. I think we forget that America was born out of costly rebellion which means freedom for us today. We can’t imagine a place where we don’t have a voice. We can’t imagine a place where things aren’t designed to protect us. We were born into something that began long before us, and my hope is that it continues long after us. We can’t take it for granted by not realizing how unique and special that democracy is. We can’t forget that it matters more than affiliations.

We are the pinnacle that the world has looked to historically. The place where people can participate in their government and buck their government by protesting policies or voting in new leaders. This idea is bigger than just us. It’s hope in a world where those things aren’t possible without consequences you will never face. They are so horrendous, we can’t fathom a government enacting them.

Remember what a blessing that is. Don’t hoard it. Hope to give it away so it can grow and never stop being our right or the hope for global communities who are oppressed, exploited, and murdered by their government every single day. Don’t forget that their not being born here should not eliminate the preciousness of their life. Either all life is precious or none is. Celebrate your freedom today by hoping it for others.