On the eve of America's Independence Day, most companies are quiet, working half-staffed or not at all. The stock market clicked through its motions for half the day, but it didn't generate much interest; most minds are focused on tomorrow and the Fourth of July celebrations holding reign across the country.

Warren Buffett has said that he won the lottery the day that he was born in the United States. Of the world's people, only about 1 in 25 are born in the U.S.A. So, although these odds are much better than the odds for state lotteries, the odds are still very low that you are born and start life in the United States.

Assuming that you were born in the U.S., what would it have meant to you if you were born elsewhere? Say, on an island of Greece, or in Turkey, or in the winter of the former Soviet Union? Or what if you were born in the hills of China, in a Tuscan olive grove, in the Spanish mountains, or on Greenland?

Wherever you were born in our hypothetical example, hopefully you would lead a warm life -- one filled with happiness, health, and Foolishness. Unfortunately, however, when you're born to many certain parts of the world, it is difficult to find long-term health, let alone lasting happiness.

The U.S.A. doesn't have a patent on good living, but anyone who is born to long-term health, freedom, and opportunity is born to a great deal of good fortune -- all the fortune that truly matters -- and many Americans are born to exactly this and more.

I'm thankful to the men and their families who had the courage to stand up to unfair treatment from Britain (those brutes! -- now we love 'em) by signing the Declaration of Independence. Many of the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration were persecuted by the British, if not immediately, than for years to come.

In fact, most of the 56 men (Rule Breakers, all of them) who launched our freedom with their signatures were never able to experience the life of freedom that they'd hoped to provide for their new country with the Declaration. This was a sacrifice that they knew they were facing when they took up the mighty pen against the Crown.

People who live in the United States have a great deal to be grateful for. On the Fourth of July, many of us will celebrate our freedom and, with that, our opportunities. Every day that you wake up healthy in this country is another day that you may, essentially, pursue any dream that you wish. In a world of 6 billion people, that's an extraordinary gift to have placed before you each day.

Fool on, U.S.A.!