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“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”

– Albert Einstein

What is freedom?

Is freedom a sonnet calling upon nations of the world to “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”? Is it an altruistic, shining ideal that has bravely withstood the test of time and trial? Or has freedom become a faded notion, worn thin by the vagaries of time and man?

As America gets ready to celebrate its July 4th holiday in its own inimitable style – brass bands tootling away at Sousa marches, parades festooned with red-white-and-blue floats, fireworks, and comical Uncle Sam stilt-walkers – it’s time to revisit the concept of “freedom”. Freedom isn’t just a set of bullet points laid out on dusty parchment paper by America’s forefathers, a patriotic day of national pride, or the right to say what you wish, believe what you want, or to go where you will.

Honoring the Fourth of July! Acrylic painting by Joni, Monti Lacombe's mother (Interprose's Office Admin).

Honoring the Fourth of July! Acrylic painting by Joni, Monti Lacombe’s mother (Interprose’s Office Admin).

What freedom – and its twin sibling, Liberty – truly is is opportunity. The chance to chase a dream or to see a challenge and then find a way to overcome it. At its heart, freedom is about innovation. It’s about having the ability to make a change for the better, to find a new way of doing things for the benefit of you, others, and the world at large. It is the right to try, fail, and then try again, for as many times as it takes to get it right.

Without having the liberty to pursue radical, silly, or even dangerous ideas, we wouldn’t have some of the technology innovations that are an indelible part of the fabric of our world. How might our lives be forever changed had not our scientists, poets, engineers, musicians, mathematicians, philosophers, and yes, even politicians, not been allowed to think freely, and to take the actions required to bring about disruptive change?

Freedom is the opportunity to dream big, to make mistakes, and to combine inspiration and perspiration, thereby creating something truly grand and wonderful in the process. Maybe necessity isn’t the mother of invention after all; maybe freedom is.

Freedom remains a cherished, yet unattainable ideal for millions around the world. So as America prepares for its annual Independence Day bacchanalia of parades, flags, balloons, and backyard barbeques, we wish you a very happy Fourth of July and urge you to never, ever take your freedom for granted.