Free Spirit

The American independent spirit is being tested. On the day of the founding of the Land of the Free, 4th of July, we are asked not to celebrate with parades, big gatherings and fireworks. Thus, we are challenged to express that exact notion of freedom that we cherish more than anything: our personal freedom.

Under normal circumstances we have the freedom to choose how to celebrate, where to celebrate and with whom to celebrate. Now, we are facing America’s birthday under cover, masked among people we don’t know, and outdoor only. Or we stay at home within our household firing up the grill.

The question is: Have we lost our freedom?

Many will think so. And many will defy the advice of caution and mostly, of responsibility. Perhaps the notion of freedom is mistaken for anything goes.

I came to this country almost 40 years ago as a twenty-something person from Denmark. I was seeking personal freedom; freedom to figure out who I was, what I wanted and mostly, to escape what was expected from me. I listened to the talk about The American Dream and perhaps that was in my heart. The fact is that I followed the song by the mamas & the papas:

If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. If you’re going to San Francisco, your’e gonna meet some gentle people there.

Yes, I was a dreamer. The American Dream? More likely, a wish to feel good about myself. A typical desire to move on, to become. Yes, I grew up in America. I became an adult. I rebelled against my conditions in my native country and sought a space where I could be. It was not easy, often painful, and I suffered from depression. However, growth happens through pain. I am grateful today for growing up in America.

Happy 4th!


  1. Happy 4th, Elizabeth. Your thoughts bring back memories of youthful dreams for a better life, a better country and a better world which have yet to be realized. Thank you for your openness and your eloquence.

  2. Your perspective on America is always interesting, Elizabeth. I love my country, but these days it’s breaking my heart. We have so much to face and so much growing up to do, and we’re going to have to do it quickly — or it won’t be America anymore.

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