By Byron McNutt

DHI Media

As many have observed, one indicator of what makes a country so great is the number of people who want to get in versus how many want to leave. Some countries have borders to keep people in. Others need borders to keep people out.

As we prepare to celebrate July Fourth we should remember that it isn't just a day off. It's more than barbecues, parades, fireworks and parties. The Fourth of July is a time to renew our gratitude for our good fortune to be living in the greatest country in the world.

Many people take all our country has to offer for granted, says Bryan Golden, a columnist and author. In America, we have more rights, freedoms and opportunities than anyplace else.

Some people focus on finding fault with America rather than treasuring all that is good here. Politics has become too partisan and tribal. Our country may not be perfect, but it is, by far, the best place to live. Even the most vociferous, vocal and vehement critics choose to stay here rather than leave.

We become spoiled by all of the freedoms we have. We tend to forget that those freedoms aren't free. You have to take care of your country. The well-being of America is your responsibility. You must be a participant in our great democracy.

You can't abdicate this responsibility to others. Apathy empowers those with self-serving goals to decide your fate, Golden says. Based on the rancor and discourse we're seeing inside the Washington Beltway, one has to wonder if our leaders have our best interests in mind.

If you feel something is wrong, don't just complain and criticize. Find a better way. Work for solutions. Demand civility. America was built by people who wanted an improved quality of life, not by whiners.

If you don't speak up, who will? But speak up in a positive way. Be willing to compromise. Our government was never intended to take care of you. Rather, you must take care of your government.

You have more freedom and rights than in any other nation. Should you have any doubts, visit any other country. When you return home, you will have a renewed appreciation for America. Should you find someplace better, you have the freedom to move there.

As we celebrate our nation's freedom, we honor the courageous men and women dedicated to preserving it. America is a nation where the spirit of pride, greatness and honor is common to every soul. Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.

It's your obligation to vote, not just a right. Throughout our history, hundreds of thousands of men and women have given their lives to ensure your ability to live free. Voting is a precious gift – don't squander it. But that also means there will be winners and losers. To keep civility, we must support the elected leaders even if they don't represent our views on every issue.

America was founded on the principle that anything is possible. There are no problems we can't solve if we don't care who gets the credit. We exist today because in 1776, a band of farmers didn't believe in the word "impossible."

They risked everything, including their lives, to form a country with freedoms never before known in history. We may all be different, but we share the same human spirit. Perhaps it's human nature that we adapt and survive.

In America, the only guarantee is opportunity. You have the opportunity to succeed. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. However, you are not entitled to success, nor are you entitled to what someone else has.

Accomplishments take effort. There are no shortcuts. If you are willing to do what it takes, you can bring your dreams to reality. Equal rights are not the same as special rights.

Because you have so many freedoms, you need to take personal responsibility for your well-being. There are countries where the government supposedly takes care of all the needs of the people. But these are the same places where people are trying to get out, rather than in.

Independence Day is a time to celebrate America's greatness. Only because so many have contributed so much, in so many ways, have we been able to become so strong. Our strength is an asset, not something to condemn.

It is common knowledge that America got its freedom from British Colonial Rule on July 4 when they signed a resolution of freedom. We all are not unaware of how we got our freedom.

The American Revolutionary War started in 1775 and ended with the Paris Peace Treaty in 1783. The war had a big impact on the future of the United States. The war was gory and gruesome for the common people many who still had a loyalty to the Mother Country.

But in the end, we got our freedom from the British Empire and we never looked back after that.

So every day, not just on the Fourth, be thankful that you live in America. Don't take for granted what people in other countries can only dream about. Be proud to be an American.