A friend of mine whose parents were immigrants, Jews from Europe who came to America in search of safety, told me this story. His parents lived and worked in New York. They were not well off. His father died when he was young. His mother lived on, and in time my friend succeeded and became wealthy.
He often used to offer his mother the chance to travel outside America. She never did. When eventually she died, they went back to recover the safety box where she kept her jewelry. They found there another box. There was no key. So they had to drill it open.
They wondered what precious jewel must be in it. They lifted the lid. There was wrapping and more wrapping and finally an envelope. Intrigued, they opened it. In the envelope were her U.S. citizenship papers. Nothing more. That was the jewel, more precious to her than any other possession. That was what she treasured most. So should America today.
The story itself is powerful enough. But the admonition contained in the last four word sentence is even more so.
Most who call the United States of America home will understand and echo this sentiment; for here in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, we have blessings beyond compare.
In light of this, I hope our citizenship in this country remains more precious to us than any other earthly possession. I hope we treasure it most among all this world has to offer us.
Happy “Fourth of July”!
SOURCE: Tony Blair, A Journey: My Political Life (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010), p. xlviii.