Yesterday we commemorated the ones who died for our freedom. With commemorations, we too commemorate the parts of us that had died for us to become us. I am grateful every time that after everything I had endured, this is the version I have become. That’s why I remain hopeful about the world.

Today, while we celebrate our freedom, I am specifically mindful about my freedom. The right of self-determination I had fought for and protected my whole life, the freedom of thought I have cultivated, and the freedom of speech I am learning to use every day with kindness and responsibility.

I am specifically mindful about the friendships that blossomed in my life. Some are relatively old, others are relatively new. Some live relatively near, and others live relatively far. Some by choice, and others by coincidence. I have never known which friendships were made by choice and which by coincidence, because very often, it just happened. Sometimes we were united by a shared space, but very occasionally, they come as an unexpected surprise. Knocking on our door during a stormy night. Showing us how beautiful it is to be alive and free.

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