Today we commemorate the birth of a nation. A nation steeped in a democracy the world has not seen since the days of ancient Athens and Rome. This experiment, as it is called, has managed now to endure since 56 of our Founding Fathers risked their lives and the lives of their families by signing a document, considered treasonous by the mother country, but nonetheless deemed necessary and appropriate by these men. This began our history as a sovereign nation. It was the audacity of these 56 men, their relative insolence to stand up to the most powerful country in the world and declare its independence that gave this country its birth. But it was a war, a long armed conflict, that gave that document teeth. And it was a war, supported by the majority but certainly not unanimously that set up this fledgling nation and began a journey into the unknown. A journey not even attempted anywhere else on the planet.
Today, we have cause, reason to celebrate this nation even as we move forward in such internal conflict. Fact is, we are free enough to express this conflict even as far as some extreme groups have taken this liberty. Yeah, LIBERTY. That is a beautiful word. And nowhere on the planet is it used more frequently, more honorably and at the same time dishonorably than it is allowed to be used here in this country.
Freedom. Freedom to live, to worship and to vote as we see fit. Thousands have died for it and no doubt thousands more will. It is a right that has been earned by the blood of our ancestors, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers who gave their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice so we may enjoy what we have. They have not died in vain.
No secret that we are facing some fierce times. I don’t remember a more divided country in my lifetime, even during the turbulent 70’s when the whole system seemed to be falling apart. But we survived then as we will now I’m sure.
I think that people need to be reminded sometimes of what we have here. We are still the envy of every nation on earth. We have survived civil war and internal strife. We have “made the world safe for democracy” more than once. We have fulfilled our commitment to the world whatever you as an individual may think that to be. Our servicemen, our children have fought and died in every corner of the rounded world for a variety of reasons yet we see no new territory, no new states. Not many nations can make that claim and not many wish to.
So, on this day, in direct contrast to some who choose not to celebrate, against what is now the majority of our own people who responded to a poll saying that they are not proud of this country, there are those of us who would respond differently. We ARE proud of this country. Proud of what it stands for. Proud of what it has accomplished. Proud of its history and hopeful for its future. Maybe what some do not understand, or don’t want to, is that without this country it is easy to imagine what this world would be like. Strife, war, famine and disease would be the norm and only because we, this country is not here to address it.
Perfect? I think not. But show me something that is perfect, and I’ll show you something that’s not. Of course we have a darker side to our history. Show me a nation that does not. But then, show me a nation that is more admired and hated at the same time. Show me a nation that has contributed more to the human condition while at the same time been betrayed by nations we have saved.
Yeah. We have a lot to be proud of here in this country and today is a very appropriate day to show that pride and love of country. And for those who disagree, take some solace in the fact that you are allowed to feel that way and express your feelings openly. That is your right. That is even your responsibility. That, in a nutshell, is America.