Happy Independence Day!

usa flagLike many other Americans here in Florida we will be on our boat “Zuri” today, celebrating 4th of July, enjoying a great barbecue and watching fireworks displays in Fort Lauderdale. We have this ritual every 4th of July where we hoist our American flag off the starboard spreader and do some reflecting on our long journey as immigrants to America. This flag is extra special to us as it was given to us by the “Johnsons” (Keith, Monica and Jennifer) to commemorate the day when we became American citizens in 2009. This flag was flown on the Capitol building in Washington DC on that day and was dedicated to us by our Florida congressman.

It was a very touching gesture from our friends, the Johnsons (we are known as “Their Africans”). They were the first Americans with whom we had any real interaction when they became our very first seaschool students in 1996 in Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. It was “love at first sight” and we have been friends ever since!

This story however, is not unique for America. We have been touched by the generosity and warm embrace we have experienced from all Americans. We have met many people over the years here (the Updikes, the Thierrys, the Hansons, the Rainfords to name but a few). We cannot name you all but we would like to say thank you for your willingness to include us in your communities, for being our support network and for rooting for us when times were tough and celebrating with us when times were good.

The United States of America is 236 years old today. It’s a happy time for all but it should also be a time to reflect on the freedoms that Americans enjoy. “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”  ~Thomas Paine. Remember that so many have sacrificed and continue to do so to keep America free.

Happy Independence Day, America…let freedom ring!


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