Thursday, July 2, 2009
July 4th Reflections (Blogger Going On Hiatus This Weekend)
"[P]atriotism... is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." ~Adlai Stevenson
As we approach our country's 233rd birthday, I have some thoughts about America and being an American.
Regardless of your politics, July 4th is not a political holiday. It's an American holiday. This time of year, no party has a corner on the "patriot" market. In the past, some people have tried to portray themselves as ultra-patriotic because they wave the flag or believe in certain tenets. I believe the definition of patriot is much broader and certainly no pithy blog post can describe it.
It just feels good to be an American even though we have so many problems and so many things to solve. We need a better health care option for Americans, for example. This time of year, though, that political fight takes a back seat. We honor those men that had the courage to stand up against an overwhelming foe. They risked their lives to declare independence from the British crown and to form this nation. It was a nation they birthed, but it has grown in so many different ways and directions.
If those original signers could be alive today, what would they think of this double digital, web-obsessed, celebrity-hounding, materialistic society the U.S. has become? I think they would be proud. We are all those things. Out of those things, however, the United States has a great capacity for doing good in this world. Think how different the world would be today if those early signers of the Declaration of Independence had not stood up and said, in one voice, "ENOUGH!"
There are certainly aspects of the world that would be different...and, honestly, not necessarily for the better. On the whole though, we do live in a country that, I believe, has done far more good for this world than bad. I suppose I could be wrong, and it's difficult to quantify. I can't believe how far this country has come in so many ways.
We still have far to go, but, when you look at it, it was a miracle that we got this far. The Revolutionary War was won because we outlasted the British will more than anything. The Civil War and slavery nearly tore the country apart. Our fighting men and fighting women have bravely battled and continue to battle in foreign lands for all of us. The long walk uphill for civil rights continues in so many ways. Still, let's hope the miles ahead outnumber the miles behind.
What changes will we see in our lifetimes? Begin measuring it on July 4th. Last July 4th, I didn't have this blog. I didn't have this computer, and I still had my father. Change is constant and fast over time, but our creator...whomever you believe that was...allows us to slowly feel the changes.
Those changes in all our lives have brought us to the 233rd birthday of this great country. Happy Independence Day! Happy Birthday America! It's been an amazing ride, and we're just getting started.
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