It’s been 236 years since a land of immigrants united together to wage war against a common enemy, a tyrant who refused to acknowledge the rights and liberties all humans should be afforded. Though these people had cultural and language barriers, they were bonded by oppression and strengthened by the dream of justice for all. And the world was watching. After numerous brutal battles, resulting in thousands of deaths, their plight kept them fighting and, with help from abroad, they were victorious. Thus, the United States of America was born.

Fast-forward to today. This same land of immigrants, now with a history rich in battles won and lost in the name of freedom, has practically transformed into a country opposing itself. Optimism for unity is waning in a nation that once supported diversity and humanity for the sake of opportunity as people hold their own personal value systems in higher regard than the common good. But there is hope.

Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Despite the obvious division in our country, we must keep in mind how far we have come. Though slavery existed and there were only very limited rights for minorities, including women, at the time we declared our independence and later created the Constitution, we have grown. We have become a world power that not only helps to protect and defend other countries, but we are a charitable nation active in helping in humanitarian causes at home and worldwide. We have systems set up to provide opportunities not just for our citizens, but for those who come here in desperate need of a better life.

Though individuals may not agree with the practices conducted by our government or justice system, we still have liberties and protections that other countries around the world have yet to even dream about. And for that reason, this Fourth of July, instead of being bitter and resentful over the way things are today, reflect on all the good that we do have. Think about impoverished and oppressed societies that wouldn’t understand freedom if it fell in their laps. Instead of choosing the negative, divisive paths, for one day, celebrate all that we have accomplished and hold on to that hope that we will once again be united against a common enemy for the sake of humanity. In commemoration of the Fourth of July, remember what our forefathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.