I have lived in America for exactly forty years. When my kids were younger, we do the usual stuff, picnic, BBQ, etc. Now they are in college and I rather enjoy the quiet time alone. But I still celebrate July 4th, in my own way.
Lately I enjoy the holiday with a simple gift, my invisible American flag.
Few of us take our freedom for granted. Most of us celebrate our freedom by the things that we can do, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc. I celebrate my freedom by the things that I don't need to do.
I don't need to carry an ID when I leave my house, unless I am driving. I don't need to open the doors to the police when they come to my home, unless they have a warrant. I don't need to be subjected to a full body search, unless I have committed a crime or unless I have entered an airport.
And most important of all, I don't need to fly a flag in front of my house to show that I am patriotic and I don't even need to salute to one unless I want to.
I just don't need to do anything.
This year, interestingly, I have one more reason to celebrate.
For the last ten years or so, the two Chinas (communist mainland and nationalist Taiwan) have ceased much of their hostilities towards each other. In fact, Taiwan is now the biggest investor in mainland and mainland Chinese represent the largest tourist population in Taiwan.
Recently in April, as another gesture for friendship, a group of retired Taiwanese army generals visited their counterparts in mainland. After consuming sufficient amount of Moutai, one of the Taiwanese generals made the unfortunate comment that "共軍、國軍，我們都是中國軍" which roughly translates to "communist army, nationalist army, we are all China's army."
These generals had been fighting each other for more than half a century. They even fought as allies against the Japanese. So it is understandable that these 90+ year old veterans are anxious to enjoy a little bit of R&R.
For obvious reasons, this innocent comment, which was not widely reported in America, had generated quite a bit of furor in Taiwan. Because after all, the two countries are still officially at war.
What was surprising was that the same comment was not well received in mainland neither. In fact, a communist official had to go out of his way to remind everyone that the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the biggest army of the World, does not belong to China. It belongs to the communist party.
In other words, the PLA is an occupying force.
I guess I always knew that since I grew up in China. After forty years, I just forgot.
Thank you for the reminder.
"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea ... Let us all be grateful for a land so fair ... God Bless America."
Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone.