Wherever one may be in the world, people know that the Fourth of July is American Independence day. Three years ago I had the pleasure of being in Hawaii on the Fourth of July. This was a family holiday and we were staying in Maui. This gave me the opportunity to see first hand, and participate in some July 4 celebrations. It was also great to be able to talk to people about the significance of July 4 to them as Americans.

There is much to love about USA. It is the only country whose culture has been welcomed into virtually every corner of the globe. It has led the world in innovation with inventions like electricity, the phone, the automobile and now the Internet. America, more than any other country has been prepared to fight for freedom, not just for itself but also for others who may face oppression.

America also has the unique ability to reinvent the way it does things and come back stronger from adversity. This is happening again with the fallout from the GFC and I have no doubt that a stronger USA will ultimately emerge. Whereas some countries do not seem to learn history lessons, America does.

Americans are the most gracious of hosts and have a great pride in their country. As a visitor this is most striking. When Americans say “God Bless America” it comes from the heart.

As an Australian it seems to me that Australia and The USA share some common background. The British colonized both.  Migrants seeking a new and better life in a new world developed each country. Both have welcomed the diversity migrants bring to the countries and this diversity is reflected in how so many cultures are incorporated into one. This continues today. We have shared ideals and have served side by side to protect freedom in this world in two world wars and other wars. We continue to serve side by side in 2010.

However, Australia never had to fight for its independence nor forge a constitution in the way the USA has done. Australia has never endured civil war.

There is something profound in having established a free country through a war of independence. Whilst this was over 200 years ago (and 12 years before Australian settlement) the spirit, which has made America great, lives on today.

Being in the USA on July 4 made me understand better why Americans are as proud of their country as they are. Every country makes mistakes but the ability of the USA to learn from these and forge new ideas is unmatched. It remains the leader of the free world.

I would like to wish all my American friends a happy Fourth of July.