January 14, 2017

Imagine standing along the side of a well-paved deserted highway at the top of a 9,000-foot mountain amid thick luscious green forests under a clear blue sky with a soft breeze caressing your face.  Now imagine you are holding onto the handle bars of a ten-speed bicycle as you push it a few steps before hopping aboard.  Within minutes you find yourself being pulled along by gravity into a ride of freedom where 50 mph speeds can be reached on the steepest downgrades, even faster if you peddled vigorously at the start of the descent.  Now imagine letting go of the handlebars, lifting your hands to heaven and shouting as loud as you can “Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!! Thank you, Jesus!” (or if not religious, “Yahoo!! Whoopee!! Out of sight!!”).

As you glide along to the sound of tires singing as they kiss the asphalt, enjoying the freedom generated from all the exertion expended from peddling up the mountain’s steep incline, you are convinced this thrill of sailing effortlessly was well-worth the effort; feeling like an eagle swooping down from the sky.

This is how I chose to celebrate my freedom as an American, riding a bicycle from Oregon to Virginia on my own power, covering 3500 miles across nine state borders to be in Washington D.C. on July 4th for the Bicentennial celebration.

As I stood beside the Washington Monument among one million other fellow citizens filling up the Mall watching the greatest display of fireworks bombs bursting in air in America’s history thus far, I felt I had reached the climax of my celebration.

If you were alive in 1976 and can remember it, how did you choose to celebrate your freedom on that special day?