Every 4th of July I look forward to watching my sons enjoy the many festivities that this holiday brings, from parades and firework shows to family barbecues. I am especially proud to share with them the traditions and history of our country’s independence. Among these traditions, every year, we never fail to proudly display the American flag because to me and my family, there is no greater symbol of freedom and independence.
My appreciation for the American flag began at a very early age. One of the few photos of my childhood is one of me in school soon after we arrived as refugees from Vietnam, wearing clothes donated by the local church and holding the American flag as I helped lead the Pledge of Allegiance. While I may have not known it at the time, that red, white and blue emblem I held in my hand, embodied the principles of freedom and independence that my family sailed across the South Asia Sea to find. If it were not for the flag and the opportunities it represents, I would not be standing here today having achieved the American Dream. To this day, when I see our flag, I am reminded of that moment in my life and how far I have come.
This Independence Day, as you see American flags being waved, I hope that you will join me, my husband Tom and my sons by reflecting on what this symbol means to you and your family and that you will thank those who have contributed to the strength of our nation. As you do this exercise in gratitude, I hope that you will reach out to our Veterans and servicemembers who have made great sacrifices to defend this emblem of liberty. It is these brave heroes who have protected the United States of America through the passage of time and who deserve our utmost reverence. In their honor let us come together to celebrate this great nation and all that it brings.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July!
State Senator, Thirty-Fourth District
California State Legislature