Monday, July 04, 2011


It’s the 4th of July! A day when those of us in the USA remember the day our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, breaking ties with Britain and that horrible tyrant King George III. Of course, these days, it’s less about history and more about cooking hot dogs on the grill, drinking beer, and exclaiming “ooh!” and “ahh!” as we watch a fireworks display.

Freedom. What a precious thing that is, huh? We’re so used to it here that we take it for granted. But when someone we know recently traveled to the Middle East to visit her elderly mother, we got a harsh reminder that not everyone enjoys such freedoms. This person had to worry whether the officials of the country in which she’d been born and raised would discover she’d participated in demonstrations here renouncing that country’s government. She was so concerned about the potential consequences that she refused to take her child with her rather than risk she’d be jailed and her child get stuck in that country. Free speech? Due process? Forget about it there.

As a writer, the right to express myself in words is something I treasure. I can say anything I want and nobody can do anything about it. Okay, I can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater unless, of course the theater is on fire, but I can mention to a friend that when George Clooney appears on the screen my nether regions burn for him.

A BIG THANKS to those in the Armed Forces for making these freedoms possible for all of us. Here are some veterans I’d specifically like to thank:

My father, Lt. Col. Paul Rowan O’Brien, Jr. (Ret. and deceased), who flew KC-135 tankers in Viet Nam

My brother-in-law, Stephen Curran, who served several years as an airplane mechanic in the Air Force

Charles McMillen, a fellow writer and all-around nice guy who served in the Army in Viet Nam and lived to write stories about it (some terrifying, some touching, some both)

Whether you live in the US or elsewhere today, I hope that you are free to enjoy yourself to the fullest!

Are you doing something unusual to celebrate today? We’d love to hear about it!

As a thank you for stopping by, and to celebrate this day of freedom, I’m offering a free “swag bag” of promo items for my upcoming release, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure. The bag includes a purse-sized manicure kit, emery boards, and pens. If you’d like one, just send an email to with your mailing address and it’ll be on its way!


Virginia C said...

Hi, Diane! I so agree with your post on freedom. It is very precious! I very much appreciate my personal freedoms. Due to my financial constraints, I have a very modest lifestyle. However, I find great delight in simple things and I have an unlimited imagination. I get up very early each day, and I relish that morning time with my coffee, my newspaper and my computer. That's the way I prepare myself for the rest of the day and dealing with the world at large. What do I love most about the 4th of July? It’s so very, very American! So red, white, and blue and all the things that I hold dear! I am deeply patriotic, proud to be an American, and I love my homeland. I am a VA native, born and raised in the beautiful blue mountains, and so very proud of my historically rich home state. My birthday is coming soon, and I’ll be 53 years old! I sometimes wonder what happened to that young girl of 13, and that young woman of 23. Then I realize that they’re still here, in this aging body with a child’s heart. I hope I never lose my love for life and laughter. Then I truly would be old! One of my favorite 4th of July memories from my childhood is homemade vanilla ice cream. My grandfather would pack the ice cream maker, and we would all take turns spinning the handle. It seemed to take forever, but it was so worth the wait! My Gran would have ready fresh peaches or strawberries, sliced up and juicy in sugary syrup. Could anything taste better on a hot Summer day?

krisgils33 said...

happy 4th! i know for sure i take my freedoms for granted, but i try to take time to help our soldiers out there protecting us. i do various donations and also "adopt" deployed soldiers. such a small way to say thanks.

we live just outside of DC and our tradition is to stay at a hotel in DC and enjoy all the festivities. but, this year, i am in orlando where my daughter is competing for the title of National Petite Miss Dance. tonight is her final competition where the winner will be crowned (unlikely to be my daughter as there are soooo many super talented kids here).

catslady said...


catslady said...

Sorry was having blogger issues lol.

My husband and I volunteer (he's an officer) at our local American Legion and there's always events going on for these holidays. Many veterans have no where else to go and it's nice to help out. We also get in a family get together too. Happy Fourth!

Barbara E. said...

I enjoyed your post, it definitely makes me think about all I have and feel grateful for all those in the military. Although I do feel gratitude every day for those brave men and women.

My big plans for today are to relax and enjoy the freedom to do nothing today. I'm cruising the web, reading a good book, and just relaxing in the air conditioning. I might go for a swim later, if I feel like it, LOL.

Diane Kelly said...

Thanks to all who stopped by today!

Virginia C - homemade ice cream sounds great! I, too, sometimes wonder where my younger self has gone, but sometimes she rears her head and hollers "howdy!"

Krisgils33 - good luck to your daughter in the contest! Crown or no crown, she's brave to put herself out there. Taking chances is the key to making the most out of life!

Catslady - how wonderful to volunteer for veterans! I'm sure you've earned a special place in heaven!

Barb E - we are also exercising our freedom to do nothing today. We just returned from the RWA conference in New York and we are pooped! I think we'll watch the Boston Pops on TV and call it a night.

Take care all and enjoy the holiday!

Linda McDonald said...

We ended up going to a pool pary/BBQ. It was very enjoyable.

And thank you to all the soliders for our freedom. To my dad who served in the Marine Corps, to my husband who served in the Army, and to my nephew who served in the Army in Iraq.