ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Clinging to the American dream

As Independence Day draws near, I've been thinking about the most memorable ways I've celebrated the holiday over the years. There's been cousin campouts at my grandparents' lake cabin, fishing on the river with my husband, grilling burgers and m...

4317387+1064D0dB_xKjbFLDNaRRcgQ1W6pQ0SkAs.jpg
Make some memories on the Fourth of July this year. (Amanda Radke/Special to Agweek)

As Independence Day draws near, I've been thinking about the most memorable ways I've celebrated the holiday over the years.

There's been cousin campouts at my grandparents' lake cabin, fishing on the river with my husband, grilling burgers and making s'mores in the backyard, shopping for "explosives" with my dad at the local stand and setting them off on the ranch (if it's not too dry, of course), and perhaps one of the most memorable was spending the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C.

I was 18-years old and spending my first summer away from the ranch as an intern for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in our nation's capital. For a country girl like me, this was an amazing opportunity to soak up the history, politics and high-speed dynamics of the world's most powerful city.

My summer was filled with memorials, rallies, museums, meetings and networking. It was a summer for growth and personal development, and the pinnacle of it all was Independence Day. Watching the fireworks light up the sky over iconic monuments was something I'll never forget. It was an inspirational moment, one that reminded me how great our country truly is.

Fast forward twelve years - I'm now 30 with three kids, living on a ranch with my husband and pursuing our personal and career dreams together as a family. And as this year's Independence Day approaches, I feel luckier than ever to be born in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Tyler and I are so fortunate to be raising kids in a place where we have the liberty to live freely and pursue our own version of happiness.

ADVERTISEMENT

I realize that not everyone has this great fortune, and even though my family is not rich, we have certainly won the "lottery" in life with our kids being sixth generation Americans.

Today's media headlines are filled with stories of children who are not so lucky. Reading the horrific tales of families traveling miles across the desert desperately clinging to the idea of the American dream pulls at my heartstrings, and I wonder, how bad is it for them in Central America that they would make the dangerous and deadly trip with little more than the clothes on their backs? Yet, even if they arrive here safely, there is still no guarantee that they will be welcomed as our country is in such great turmoil regarding our immigration policy.

This isn't a political issue. This is a humanity issue. I believe we need strong borders, and I believe a nation without laws of the land is no nation at all. Yet, as a Christian, I believe we must also welcome our neighbors with open arms; after all, weren't Joseph and Mary seeking safety as immigrants, as well?

There must be a solution, and Congress has the power to impact great change for the better of our nation and our neighbors who need our help. Forget midterm elections. This is a critical issue where both sides of the aisle need to set aside their differences and just do the right thing.

This week, our local church is holding a gathering to pray for a reasonable and effective solution, and I plan to join my fellow church-goers in prayer as we ask God to guide Congress in their policy-making.

I'm not only praying for these immigrants, but the people in our country who could use help, as well - the children in foster care, the unborn, the homeless and the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day.

So as you purchase fireworks, food and drinks in preparation for this year's Independence Day, don't forget to take a minute to say a prayer for those who aren't as fortunate as you and I. May we never take our freedoms for granted; the United States is truly the best country on earth!

ADVERTISEMENT

Amanda Radke
Amanda Radke

What To Read Next