This evening, just prior to sunrise, members of my mosque in Los Angeles gathered round to raise the flag of the United States of America. Due to fortuitous timing, just as the flag was unfurled, a squadron of planes flew overhead in formation, cast in rose hues from the setting sun.

30 minutes later, as night fell, I stood in prayer, near the open windows of the mosque, blessedly cool air finally washing over me as respite from the Valley heat. Children played outside the window, and fireworks blossomed overhead, beyond my line of sight but making their presence known from the sound of their thunder and the chatter of the kids.

This is the convergence of freedom – the First Amendment, freedom to pray, freedom to believe and to speak; the Fourth of July, a celebration of our nation and pride. In my prayer I am literally living the dream that is America – here and only here am I free to practice my faith without fear or compromise.

1400 years ago, a Prophet was commanded to Recite. 200 years ago, a group of prophets of another sort made a Declaration. Across centuries, the traditions that I honor intertwine.

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