While we are celebrating our nation’s 241st birthday with our families in our traditional ways, let us not forget the principles that our founding fathers adopted when they grasped freedom from the tyranny of the greatest power on earth in 1776. Now, during our present time, our democracy is being challenged from within itself. We must hold fast to those principles and to the bravery they exhibited all those years ago.
Today is the 239th year since the founding fathers boldly “declared” into existence my country that I love so dearly. We were a fledgling group of colonies that banned together to battle the greatest empire of that day and now we stand as the greatest empire of this day. The journey from that day to this one has been joyful and painful. When we stand together and change the world we are joyful. When we separate and are divided on an “-ism” there is pain. The recent upheavals in our American society this past year alone is a glaring testimony to that fact.
In recent days, we all watched in horror in the aftermath of the deadly shooting of the nine victims in the historic Emanuel, A.M.E church in Charleston, S. C. where the shooter admitted he wanted to start a “race” war. He worshipped with the victims. He prayed with the victims. He shot the victims because of their race. Yet, what he intended to incite turned into just the opposite. We, the people, rose up together as one against this heinous crime. The Confederate flag, a symbol of the shooter and long associated with racial hatred, was removed from the state capitol of Alabama by the Governor in the heart of Dixie and major retailers will no longer sell the flags. I believe many hearts were changed by this painful tragedy.
Our country is only as great as its citizens and the actions they employ because of their beliefs. Because of recent actions, I believe the majority of us still believe in the words of our founding fathers when they wrote, “We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” I believe that the majority of us still believe that we, the people, must always seek and must always strive to form a more perfect union with one another. It is the American way.
We have lots to celebrate. We stood on the brink of non-existence 239 years ago because the founding fathers were divided on the issue of slavery and the equality of African-Americans. Yet, they found a way to unite and forge a democracy that would improve to allow us in this present day to have an African-American president – President Barack Obama. Some of the modern world’s greatest inventions were created in our backyard. An American was the first to walk on the moon. Our military is the greatest on earth. They have always stepped up, heroically, to defend our values and those of our allies abroad. Yes, we have lots to celebrate. So, let’s get to it!
Happy 4th of July – Independence Day – to all my fellow Americans!
I love y’all! (As we say down here in Texas).
Do you remember those patriotic songs we sung in our early school years? “America, the Beautiful”, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, and, of course, “The Star Spangled Banner” were sung enthusiastically in my school and we loved those songs. Even then I was fascinated by the words of those songs and I think this is probably how my love of history was birthed.
So, on this 238th birthday of America, I reflect back on my recent first visit to Philadelphia. There I visited Independence Hall to see the room where the Declaration of Independence gave life to a rebellion against a mighty empire and the U.S. Constitution defined “We, the People” to unite us. At times, it has been a very painful journey “to form a more perfect Union” and we continue to evolve as a country. However, the beauty of it is that we eventually embrace our faults and change what is needed to become a better nation – “one nation under God”.
This is why I love my country and I just want to express it on her birthday.
Happy Birthday, America!