j u l y 2016 E r ic Jo hnso n FROM THE PUB L I SHER HAPPY INDEPENDENCE & MORE Without question, July is one of my favorite months. It’s a time of simple pleasures, like bare feet on the packed wet sand of a Santa Cruz beach and feeling the silky wrap of front-porch-warm evenings. It’s also the month I celebrate the anniversaries of two of the happiest days of my life. Forty years ago I scooped every other man alive by marrying the most beautiful woman on the planet (yes, we were actually married on the 4th of July, 1976—our nation’s bicentennial) and twenty-five years ago she and I were blessed by the birth of a son who has, before our eyes, become a man of character of a sort that I aspire to. Added to these, I share in the broader celebration with most Americans in the recognition of Independence Day—the fourth of July. Of course if you follow much of the main stream media, you might be left with the impression that we have little to celebrate. Bad news sells, after all. To be sure, we face a number of difficult challenges these days, but we must remember that we have something of enormous power that no other nation on Earth has—something we can depend upon to solve any crisis or challenge—the American spirit. Even in the most difficult of times, America still offers more opportunity and our people are more inventive and creative than anywhere else. You have that spirit inside if you are a person whose eyes still well when you hear our national anthem. Our hope and pride as Americans still comes from the same place inside as it did for the great men and women who conceived this nation, as America is called the “United” States because we are, in the end, united. Ultimately, we are gatherings of cities and towns, then neighborhoods, homes, families and finally, freedom loving individuals. Every July 4th we celebrate much more than our national liberation—we celebrate our independence as individuals as we enjoy the glorious blessings of freedom that our nation provides. As I consider the many reasons why July is one of my favorite months, may God bless you and yours as you celebrate your own independence. And may He continue to bless this amazing country we love— the United States of America.
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