Hi to all, whether you are from America or from the rest of the world. Hello to all of the Ex-Pats. The 4th of July is our birthday, the day when we declared our independence from England. We are still a young country as countries go.

The United States has been a remarkable experiment in government, a place where people from all over the world have come to, to live far from home. We are a place of immigrants.

My relatives came to America in 1696. Two brothers, Henry and Peter Byrom, left for Virginia as indentured servants. They came for the promise of a new life and to live in a place where they could practice their religion without any interference from their mother country England. They came from Lancashire, to a land far away.

After Henry Byrom, my direct relative, worked off his servitude he got his land, worked the farm for awhile before he migrated to another colony, where he settled in Chowan County, to what is now known as North Carolina.

Except for the Native Americans, America has been a land of immigrants ever since the first settlers braved the ocean journey to land in Jamestown, Virginia.

We forget that we all came from someplace. Each of our families have our own story. I believe that those among us who appreciate America the most are our newest citizens, those who have arrived like our forefathers to a new land. People come to America for freedom and opportunity.

I am not sure we are that shining city on the hill, but we are a place where a new life and a new country began July 4, 1776. Although we may not be perfect, I am proud of our country as we continue to evolve and hopefully move forward with equality for all. We are still the hope of millions of people who seek freedom and liberty from oppression or difficult circumstances. The future will be what we make of it.

It is funny how my daughter is now living in England, far from home, but happy with her new husband and her new life, in a place, a town not far from where my father’s family journeyed from long ago.

So let us bring out the flag, and hang it high with pride. Let us sit under the tree of liberty and sound the bell from freedom hall. Let us not forget how we got here and appreciate all of those who made it possible for us to live free. Watch the sky light up with the color of firecrackers, and wave our grand old flag. Happy 4th of July week to one and all.



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