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Sep 29th
Home Community General Community Let’s Be Thankful for Another American Freedom—To Dream!
Let’s Be Thankful for Another American Freedom—To Dream! PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 04 July 2008 08:48

By Gus Mercado of Dallas, Texas

Today of all days, we know we are free. We see flags flying — those we’ve hoisted onto our own front porches or those that real-estate agents have stuck into our yards. We hear patriotic music every time we turn on the radio. During neighborhood parades and picnics at the park, we sweat through our red, white and blue T-shirts and feel pretty darned lucky.

Years ago at a flea market, we bought four antique Norman Rockwell plates, each representing one of the Four Freedoms that President Franklin Roosevelt had spoken of: Freedom from Want. Freedom from Fear. Freedom of Worship. Freedom of Speech. I look at them, especially the one of the man watching his children as they sleep, and still get goose bumps.


But as important as all those obvious freedoms are, this country has some we might not think about — or not often enough.


About the Author: Gus Mercado is a multiple award-winning writer and publisher and community leader from Dallas, Texas. He published Business Horizons, the only Filipino-owned international business magazine in America, with circulation in 92 countries. Gus is a former Acting Consul General in Houston and a retired executive of Caltex Petroleum (USA) and Sprint International. As National Chair of NaFFAA’s National Committee on Racial Profiling against Filipinos, he led a successful crusade to free the “Texas 10”, the 10 innocent Filipino airline mechanics who were unjustly arrested and detained for six months following 9/11. Gus graduated with honors from De La Salle College and worked for San Miguel Corporation in Manila prior to immigrating to the U.S. in August 1972 to escape martial law, along with Raul Manglapus and Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez.


We have freedom to believe, and not just the kind of beliefs that fall under freedom of worship. Freedom to believe for a child means putting a little white tooth under your pillow and knowing without a doubt that, in the morning, a dollar will be in its place. It means believing with all your heart that surgery will heal your grandfather’s back pain forever, that someone you love will get a longed-for-job, that you really will save enough money to take that trip to Europe, or to go “Balikbayan” again for Christmas or Holy Week.


Sometimes, we may get so caught up in the basics of life that we forget our freedom to dream. Mainstream Americans should think of the immigrants who have left behind the place they were born, the familiar beds and familiar voices, who brought with them only empty pockets, optimistic hearts — and dreams they never dared voice until now.


As immigrants to this country, our lifetime dream is to someday drop everything we’re doing and to cross the country in our mini-van, visiting every state, every majestic mountain and every fruited plain in this blessed country. We know exactly what we want to see and every so often we’ll incorporate something new in our itinerary.


“Hey, Dad,” my youngest who will soon be off to college says, “You’ve been talking about this trip since I was 5, when are we really going to do it?”


“It’s our dream, I tell him. I believe that one day it will come true, but until then we can just have fun planning it.”


Editor’s Note: This memorable Fourth of July article was first published in the now-defunct Online Edition of the PhilippineTIME News & People Magazine of Chicago, IL, in July 2003.
We Americans have the freedom to choose: Coke or Pepsi. Bowling or a movie. Mustard or ketchup. Paper or plastic. Your house or ours. VHS or DVD. Sedan or SUV. Chocolate or vanilla. Manila or Europe.


Every day, every moment in this country celebrates an essence of freedom. We have the freedom to put flowers on a loved one’s grave, to freely sing off-key into a Karaoke machine, to spend the weekend wherever and however we want. To mow the yard, play golf, have a drink with the boys, or just cozy up and hold hands with your loved ones at home.


We can apply for whatever job we want. We’re free to run for officer of our local group, or just be a follower. We can freely speak for George W. Bush, or against him. Support the Middle East War, or oppose it. We can write letters to the editor. We can post strong opinions on the Internet. We have the freedom to disagree, or be disagreeable. We can say no.




Freedom to dream. It lets us dream of a peaceful, prosperous and corruption-free Philippines in which to spend the twilight of our lives. It lets us dream of a world that is free from trouble and strife, no hunger, no wars.


Freedom lets us laugh at something funny during inopportune times (in church during a serious sermon, at grocery-store lines, staff meetings) and to suffer no more than a private embarrassment. With that freedom to laugh comes freedom to cry — while reading a favorite author’s description of something as simple as the smell of lilacs, or the taste of lemonade; hearing a song that reminds you of your first love; hugging your dog for what you know will be the last time. When your grandchild calls you to the window to see the pink of the sky as the sun sets, you have the freedom to cry, or to just give him a big hug.


It also lets you cry when you read about another monstrous natural catastrophe that just claimed innocent lives in our beloved homeland.


Today, as you and I watch the July 4th parade, or clap to the beat of drums, we have the freedom to reach out, to touch the flag and to utter a heartfelt thank-you.


Thank you for letting freedom ring in our hearts and in our souls.


And tonight, if we’re out in the country and have stopped at those three-for-one fireworks stands, we have the freedom to hold onto a sparkler and to write our names in the sky, and dream of a better world.


Happy 4th of July! # # #

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Last Updated on Friday, 04 July 2008 09:39

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