Friday, July 2, 2010

Fourth of July, by Margaret Takacs

Fourth of July -- just to mention the name of the day -- memories of happy times come to one’s mind: marching bands, veterans proudly carrying billowing flags, caravans of cars loaded with children, heading toward picnic places, baskets filled to the brim with food, tempting aromas drifting from backyard barbecues, spectacular fireworks lighting the skies at night. Celebration! Celebration of freedom is everywhere in the air!

Coming from a world in 1948 where freedom was just buried, celebration of freedom always has a special meaning for me. I came from a small war-torn country of Europe, named Hungary, which burned her name with blood into the conscience of the free world in 1956. Marrying my husband, an American citizen, I became one of the privileged few who were able to leave the stronghold of communism behind.

Since at that time I was genuinely petrified from flying, we crossed the Atlantic on a steamship, the “U.S.S. Washington” and became seasick through the whole journey. Give me the peace of the Pacific any time!

The Atlantic is a very violent ocean. So after the misery of five days, the sight of the Statue of Liberty and the realization that I had reached the land of the free became an unbelievable happiness. My first impressions of America were not totally influenced by the sight of the New York skyscrapers, but by the abundance of wealth manifested in everything everywhere. Somehow I began to feel America's power; later on I came to understand how America got there.

The U.S. with her richness and might became the world’s first and foremost power, not just because of the abundances in natural resources and the wealth in brainpower, but because of a solid foundation based on the principle that all men created equal and have an indelible right to pursue prosperity and happiness.

Fourth of July, Independence Day as we called independence, means freedom. Freedom is the most magnificent privilege a human being can enjoy. Freedom is defined as "a lack of force." It is a short definition, but it carries an immense weight. Freedom is a magic word which can build spaceships soaring over our earth, tear down the Berlin Wall, and with it the stronghold of the inhuman communism, giving to people the freedom, privilege and power to chose and govern their destiny.

America's freedom of choices, free enterprises created the most prosperous society of the century. Prosperity we created; with it, the most materialistic society, which set no limitation on anything and in the process lost some moral foothold on traditional values, destroying the very values which helped to achieve greatness.

On September 11, 2001 came a wakeup call, like a powerful earthquake which shook us up in our comfort zone, in our American way of life. The enormity of the terror and possibility for more to come present the necessity to do some soul searching, reassess our values to set our principles right. Now it is up to us to do JUST THAT.


  1. Dear Margaret, your story is the best I have read in a very long time about freedon in this great nation of ours.You boldly addressed not just the awesomeness -but also the pit falls of having too much along with shifting of our values.
    What a truly wonderful writier you are!!!

  2. Margaret, You have written a classic. I traveled with you from Hungary to New York and felt your adjustment to life in the US. I am glad you are here now and a member of Bonnie's class so I can share these stories you write. It makes me wake up and realize how spoiled I have been Gloria

  3. You are truly a great writer. I was captivated by the story and what it meant from your perspective to come to this country. I pray that I don't take my freedoms for granted because it's always possible that we can lose them. Thanks

  4. Margaret, There are few who truly know what it means to survive the jaws of communism as well as you. Therefore, there are few who truly know the value of the freedom we are priviledged to enjoy in this country today. Hopefully, with God's guidance we will see to it that it remains so.