It's American Independence Day.
There are many things I love about this country, not least the chance to better yourself, regardless of your birth circumstances. I never forget that I am the grandson of a coal miner and today I make a good living as a writer, partly thanks to the GI Bill, one of the best things this country's ever done.
I have the freedom to mock the powerful, a freedom I use with gusto. I've been asked how I can be so free with my speech without making any attempt at disguising my identity, like our friend Anonymouse. This is what I tell them: brave men fought and died so that I could have this freedom. I'm at least brave enough to use it.
America has the tradition of picking up and going wherever opportunity calls. It was in this spirit that I moved to North Carolina on July4th, 1976, and as Frost said, that has made all the difference. I started my career here. I met my wife and started my family here.
This has been a great place for us and there are so many people I owe. Each of them opened a door so that I could walk through. They encouraged me and several took a great gamble on me and I hope I haven't let them down.
Here are just a few people I owe: Rich Cerilli, Barbara Short, Michael Vassen, Bruce Mansfield, Emily Givens and Jamie Cobb. These last two saw an old battered piece of meat struggling as a contractor, lifted him up and gave him a second chance. Without these people, our lives would be very different and, I suspect, less secure.
If I haven't said thanks before, let me say it now. Thank you.
Happy Fourth! Enjoy the day.