Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is a dependent territory. Independence does not necessarily mean freedom. (as defined by Wikipedia)
That last part was a surprise to me. As an American, I have always thought of the two (independence and freedom) as one and the same.
But today, July 4, 2014, I know that I am independent and free.
I am proud and thankful to be an American citizen!
I am glad to have a day to celebrate those gifts with friends and family.
And I hope you find yourselves equally proud and thankful today too.
Happy 4th of July!