The Fourth of July has always and forever been a special day on our annual calendar of days. I remember the 4th when I was young and I was given the task of carrying our precious watermelon out to the car. I stumbled and dropped it and it smashed into a million pieces. I was crestfallen. We never saw a watermelon more than once or twice a year and now it was gone for our 4th of July outing in a time when hard and constant work made any outing a rare and precious event.
Today is a perfect day to express our thanks, either silent or vocal or written, for the democracy we are privileged to live in. Democracy is government of the people. And people can be a contentious lot, unpredictable, some informed and knowledgeable and others uninformed and biased, some competent leaders and others error-prone and stumbling. But our democracy, with all of its flaws and wonders and blessings is our democracy. We are the democracy in all of our differences, all of our disagreements and agreements, all of our rules and laws and regulations, and all of our imperfections and mistakes and successes. We are the democracy. And if we want to improve our democracy, it is up to us to do it.
Today is a good day to put our prejudices and negative feelings aside for a few hours and give thanks to those who make our life in this democracy possible. We thank the service men and women who since the dawn of our country have risked life and limb and lifelong disabilities to protect the country they so bravely protected. We thank the participants in our legislative process at the federal, state, county, and local levels. However much we disagree with what they have done or haven't done, we elected them and it is up to us to make whatever changes we feel need to be made. We thank the police, the firefighters, the emergency medical technicians and ambulance drivers, the hospital workers, the street paving crews, the electrical repairmen after the storms, the park rangers, the air traffic controllers, the janitors who make the world clean and habitable, the taxi drivers. We thank those who teach our children and who keep us learning through college and beyond. We thank those who keep the wheels of federal, local and state government running and who try to fix the potholes in the streets as soon as they can.
We are indebted to all those who keep our complex network of transportation facilities running smoothly, those who manage the airports and terminals, those who fly and service the planes, those who pilot the boats and the barges and the tugboats, those who keep the double and triple-trailer semi-trucks moving with cargo needed in our daily lives, those who load and unload, those who run the trains and subways and other commuter facilities, those who repair and fix and inspect to keep us safe, those who pilot the ocean going freighters and tankers, those who pick our strawberries and apples and everything that grows, those who plant and sow and harvest with no guarantee that Mother Nature will protect their crops and their harvests, those who dig our sewer lines and repair our water mains. We thank those who build our houses and tall office buildings and sod our lawns. We appreciate those who spend their nights stocking the shelves of the monster big-box stores, grocery stores, and department stores so that we can walk in each morning and, miracle of miracles, we would never begin to know how much work was needed to have the store look as if somehow everything we can see got where it is automatically.
We thank the doctors who try to help keep us well and the nurses and physicians assistants and lab technicians and the pharmacists who man the pill bottles and dispense our magic cures. We thank the dentists who fix our teeth and repair our crowns when they fall off and perform wondrous root canals. We like the lawyer who does our wills and legal work and the financial adviser who manages our funds since they are both sons of ours. Thanks to the bankers, the tellers, the internet marketers, the myriad of people who man phone banks for a thousand different reasons. And we must acknowledge the fast food emporiums, the auto service people, the dry cleaners, the newspaper and television personnel, and each and every other worker and specialist who plays a role in keeping our complex economy and in our daily lives.
Above all we thank those who raised us and we acknowledge our indebtedness to our families and friends and neighbors. We are grateful for our heritage and for all of the hard work and sacrifice by so many people who contributed to our upbringing and who continue to contribute in so many ways to our daily existence.
So when we see the flag on this Fourth of July, we see along with the beautiful flag the hidden countless people who play a role in our daily lives and we express our thanks to all of them. And finally, we express our gratitude for living in this great and wonderful and complex and some times irritating and confusing country. But nowhere on earth could we have the blessings that we enjoy as citizens in this great land. Happy Fourth of July.