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From Newark

From Newark

July 4, 2022 5:21 pmComments are Disabled

I’m at the airport awaiting my connecting flight to Zurich. This time tomorrow I’ll be in Warsaw, and the day after, if all goes to plan, I’ll be back in Ukraine.

It has occurred to me how much has changed since I first flew out at the beginning of April. Then, Covid restrictions were still the norm, whereas now I don’t have to test or wear a mask anymore to get on a flight. The first day I was in Warsaw, snow covered the ground and it was below freezing all the way to Lviv. Now I hear summer temperatures have reached 35 degrees. When I first arrived at the border, the war was front page news everywhere in the world, and it was the most important thing that mattered to Americans no matter what their political leanings. Now, everything from the Supreme Court to economic worries have clouded our collective purpose and dragged us back into partisan bickering among ourselves.

But though it is 4 months later, the war is still on. The looming threat of death, imprisonment or occupation by foreign invaders is the one constant fear that every Ukrainian wakes up with every day and goes to sleep with every night. The importance of this war to the global order has not diminished.

Today is the 4th of July, and it is fitting that on the day we as Americans celebrate one country ridding itself of the yolk of tyranny, we have all but lost the will to defend another country struggling under the same predicament.

I’m not oblivious or insensitive to the real problems facing our country right now, but no matter what my country does wrong, I have always felt more proud of what we get right. Usually on July 4th, in between the barbecues and fireworks I will reflect on how lucky I am to be an American and all the privilege that comes with being able to call the US my home. I’ve also always felt that along with this privilege there is a responsibility we all have to help others defend their own freedoms, not just here but abroad as well. That’s why I am spending today not at a barbecue but at an airport, and I’m spending tonight not watching fireworks but flying a checked bag of tourniquets into Ukraine.

I just re-read the Declaration of Independence, a document whose words are as timeless as its principles. In addition to the ones everyone knows and will be quoted verbatim today, there’s one line that is resonating with me most today, as the Ukrainians are watching their country being chewed up piecemeal and their pleas for aid have fallen on increasingly deaf ears:

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Vladimir Putin is unfit to be the ruler of a free people, and if we don’t stop him today, no one will stop him tomorrow. This is, and continues to be, the fight for freedom of our time. That’s why, for me, to paraphrase a now-classic speech from the movie Independence Day, today is not just an American holiday, but a day when we all must celebrate and reaffirm freedom from oppression wherever it exists.

That’s why I’m proud to be going back, and I thank you as always for your support. I will send updates soon, and if you want to help our continuing efforts on the ground please donate now at

Happy Fourth, and Слава Україні!

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