On July 4, 1776, the American people revolted against a tyrannical empire that had long oppressed them. Through steadfast determination, Christian values and democratic principles, they declared independence against overwhelming odds. Today, we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, BBQ, parades, and the waiving of old glory while praising a day off from work. All of which are great things.
However, we cannot truly celebrate without remembering the sacrifices made in the name of independence and pausing to reflect on a life before it. This may be hard to imagine seeing as so many Americans never leave the comfort of their hometowns much less the country.
Like many Americans, I had never left the comfort of the United States until I joined the Marine Corps to become a Force Recon Marine. Over many deployments to Afghanistan, I witnessed first-hand what true oppression was under Taliban rule.
Americans side by side with Afghans fought tooth and nail to uproot tyranny in pursuit of a free Afghanistan for future generations. Yet, we saw that dream and 20 years of sacrifice disappear in a moment when our government chose to withdraw in August of 2021 and abandon Afghanistan. Another reminder of how fragile freedom is and quickly it can be lost.
When I began to identify signs that President Joe Biden was pulling our troops from Afghanistan, I knew American freedom fighters had to act in the absence of our own government. I gathered a group of like-minded friends behind a shared vision of rescuing my longtime friend and former interpreter, Aziz, from certain death. We ultimately rescued my friend and his family along with 17,000 others.
And while those 17,000 will be blessed by the freedoms found here in America, 40,000,000 Afghans will now be victims to oppression and tyranny once again. 20,000,000 women and girls will be treated as sex slaves and forbidden to gain an education, a voice and even the chance to show their faces. They will tragically live out their lives dreaming of a freedom that they once had a glimpse of.
For many in America who have not witnessed or choose to be blind to such true oppression, there seems to be a growing ignorance that labels the land of the free as the land of tyranny. Over the past two decades I have observed our values slowly denigrated by a society that knows only freedom all the while chanting oppression.
Yet, those who chant loudest have not seen true oppression and ironically chant it from the very pulpit of freedom they claim doesn’t exist. And, while I am often repulsed by their message against a free nation that I hold so dear, I rejoice in the fact their voice can be freely vocalized even in my disagreement. That is the point of freedom, that is America. That is why America is still a beacon of hope around the world and despite threats of many who claim they will leave; it is why the immigration lines are millions long to come in but empty to leave.
America is great, its exceptional… because it is free. Aziz, his family and the 17,000 Afghans who we were honored to bring here will certainly not complain about American oppression. No, just the opposite, they will embrace their new freedom and thrive in the land of opportunity. A freedom that has been fought, bled, and died for since the first American warrior donned a uniform in 1775.
Independence Day is about INDEPENDENCE. Self-government. Self-rule. The ability to pursue our own interests without an overreaching and tyrannical government. The past week we’ve seen many of our rights restored in several Supreme Court opinions, which is a phenomenal lead up to Independence Day.
We need to do for others what the founders did for us: reject the belief that politicians have the right to tell us what to think, how to worship and the path that we must follow in the pursuit of our own happiness. We need to celebrate not only what has been, but all that is possible if we pursue the path of liberty.
On this Independence Day, let us give thanks for those who have gone before us and re-commit ourselves to the ideals that have made America the greatest nation on earth. Let us continue to give hope and direction to oppressed peoples everywhere as we hold high the torch of liberty, freedom, and justice.
Chad Robichaux is the founder and president of Mighty Oaks Foundation, as well as co-founder of Save Our Allies.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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