This week, the United States of America celebrated its 240th birthday — and expressions of patriotism poured out across the country.

Fireworks filled the skies, barbecues were held, parades enjoyed, and many Americans wore their red, white and blue.

It was a welcome change from a political climate that has become more and more intolerant of differing points of view. The “my way or the highway” attitude allows for no constructive give and take, no compromise, no willingness to look at something through another person’s eyes.

Rebellion against intolerance and an iron fist is what gave rise to the United States.

It is not anti-American to express one’s own opinion, nor is it disloyal to consider that of another. Love of country is not expressed in “love it or leave it,” but in seeing the faults and working to change what we can.

Now that the parades, fireworks and cookouts are done, let’s not forget what the holiday is for.

Our independent, but not exclusionary, spirit is a true celebration of the Fourth of July — of the land of the free.