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  Daily Column, July 4th 
  Jul 04, 2001, 12:00pm EDT 
By: Sander Sassen

Today, July 4th, is Independence Day in the US. If I recall correctly it was 225 years ago that the 'Declaration of Independence' was drafted after the 13 'United Colonies' had won the war the against British Empire. Today we celebrate this event and amidst all the festivities some of you might even stop to think for a minute about how fortunate they are. Just think about some of the worlds less fortunate nations that are still struggling for their independence or are waging war against one another and the millions of individuals in countries around the world oppressed by their governments

Good examples of which can be seen in almost every news bulletin, although these reports usually barely skim the surface of the underlying tragedies, the personal problems and more importantly the dim future these people have in front of them. Although the Western world has had brief periods of dismal such as the economic downfall in the 1930s, overall the past 50-years has been a wealth of luxury and financial well-being. Surely there’s exceptions to the rule, but when you think of the fact that all that we take for granted such as a car up on the front lawn, clean water or even electricity in every household are hard to come by in some countries and even considered a sign of wealth and luxury.

Of all of the 3rd world countries that receive financial aid from the US or the EU about 30% has not even got these basic luxuries and the majority of their people have to go by with horse and wagon, or even on foot, drink contaminated water from pools and puddles and generally live in wooden barracks or huts with no luxury at all. Just think about that next time you trade in that two-year old SUV simply because the new model just came out. Or you decide to refurnish your house because the couch and cabinets no longer fit the new wallpaper. There’s lots of people that are faced with far difficult choices every day, choices that might well determine whether they, or their families, will have enough food to last for the rest of the week. Problem is that they’re on the other side of the world, far from view and hardly frontpage news anymore, but that doesn’t make their situation less problematic.

Things have changed tremendously for the people living in the US since that 4th of July 225 years ago, we’ve worked hard to make the US a nation that commands respect in terms of economic and military power and although we’re supporting a large number of 3rd world countries with economic support there’s still so many Americans that simply take their freedom and independence for granted. Remember the people that have fought hard and paid with their lives for your freedom and independence, both in the past, today and those that will tomorrow. If that doesn’t do it for you, there’s a couple of million people in 3rd world nations that’ll gladly swap their lives with yours, as they too would like to be able to live their life in prosperity and able to speak their heart and mind.

Sander Sassen


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