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My Independence Day Musing

2013 July 1

By Dave Deegan

This week we celebrate one of my favorite holidays – Independence Day, the Fourth of July. Even now, decades after I left school for good and have been in the workforce, this early summer holiday continues to hold strong associations and memories of the thrill I once felt knowing that the whole summer was waiting ahead of me with fun activities like swimming, camping, baseball games, picnics, long days and lingering twilight.  Great, relaxing times with family and friends, and sometimes a welcome trip to the beach or a mountain lake.

Nowadays, celebrating our nation’s founding on Independence Day has far deeper meaning than the pleasure of a picnic or watching a jaw-dropping fireworks display. I always am grateful for the freedom we enjoy in the US: freedoms to read and write and debate, the liberty to live where and how we choose and the promise to define one’s own life work.

Picture of a flag on a bridge over water.

Of course, we all accept that our personal freedom has limits, either for other people’s good or for the community as a whole. When it comes to the environment, we all live both upstream as well as downstream.  My actions can impact you, just as yours can impact me.  As someone who cares a lot about EPA’s mission – to protect human health and the environment – I am always aware of the trade-off required when it comes down to EPA enforcing the laws to keep harmful pollution from the water, air or land.

What is ironic in all of this is that so much of what makes our collective independence so precious actually depends so much on our collective interdependence.  Our will and willingness to be good neighbors to each other often goes hand-in-hand with being good stewards of our environment.

So here’s to a great Fourth, to enjoying some potato salad, a burger, a small-town parade and a marching band playing the patriotic classics.  And maybe a few thoughts to how good it is to breathe clean air, to enjoy fresh healthy water and to dig a garden in good soil.

About the author: Dave Deegan works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. When he’s not digging rocks out of his garden, he loves being outdoors in one of New England’s many special places.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. Prof Mpiya permalink
    July 2, 2013

    Sometimes we take for granted our indepedence that others fought and defended with their lives to secure for us.

    Let us remain vigilant

    Prof Mpiya

  2. Arman.- permalink
    July 2, 2013

    A Great Fourth : Congratulations The Americans Idea…….!

    We must Honestly that the Americans are leading : Culture, Economy, Military, Natural and Human Resources than The Others. The Founding Fathers had successfully to put imagine how the people act: Thinking, doing and reflecting in the time of worst and in the time of grateful !

  3. wade permalink
    July 3, 2013

    I have a special appreciation for what Independence Day means to me since we buried my Uncle Bill Harter yesterday, July 2. Uncle Bill served in the Air Force during World War II in England and then in the invasion of Germany. We are losing our WWII Veterans by the 1000’s each week and as they go we seem to lose the fact that millions gave their life to give us the freedom we enjoy and as such is slowly slipping away.

  4. Dave permalink
    July 8, 2013

    Many thanks to you all for reading and commenting. @Wade, I’m very sorry for the loss of your uncle. I agree about how valuable were the contributions of WWII veterans to our freedom. It’s worth getting to know some of these older men and women and learning their stories before they are gone.

  5. permalink
    September 4, 2013

    I think this is very good to say.

  6. permalink
    November 4, 2013

    good I think

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