Today is the 4th of July, the birthday of our nation, The United States of America. Whether you were born here or immigrated to the US, it is important to remember what our country is built upon, the values, the standards, the foundational ideas that have made this nation a great place to live. If you immigrated here, what drew you to the US? You could have chosen Canada or a European country, why here? If you were born here in the US, what is your responsibility to this nation in keeping it strong and modeling those values, standards and foundational ideas to those you love? Today it is truly sad to see so many people living here at odds with each other, at each other’s throats and each seeing the world through their eyes and their views; and those are of course the only right ones worth having. These attitudes will continue to divide us and bring us to anarchy and destruction. A society that preys upon itself cannot last.
Each of us has a responsibility to lift the other person up, to help those who truly need help. If you can work and you sit at home and take a handout because it is there, or because you can game the system, and there is someone who is going without living on the street or in a doorway – shame on you. It seems there are those who make some very bad decisions in their lives looking to get on the news, get a reality show and have their fleeting moments of fame. What will this buy you? Fame is not the happy place many think it is because it has been idealized by the media and is gone as quickly as it came. It is exhausting to keep up the mask of false appearance to stay in the spotlight.
If you are lucky enough to have the 4th of July off, spend it with your family and your friends. Do not answer your email or your cell phone. The majority of the US is taking the day off. I would highly suggest you and your family spend some time exploring what happened 241 years ago. You can do this by watching some wonderful entertainment on the topic. The Sons of Liberty, John Adams, Monumental, as well as many others. Watch out for “revisionist history” however. Today, the only true source of the truth is in the “original source historical documents” which are mostly in the hands of private citizens. Like anything in today’s society, you are responsible for researching the actual facts. Do not just take someone’s word on the subject. Far too many books and movies are no longer sourcing anyone, and they are putting out pure political opinion, their opinion of how they would like the world to be true or not. When we sit back in our complacency and accept what is being fed to us, we are slowly being poisoned and patriotism will die.
When I was young, we sang all the great patriotic songs written to proclaim the glory and sacrifice and beauty of this nation. I doubt the average person knows the words to any of the songs today. Do you know the words to America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic, You’re a Grand Ole Flag, The Star Spangled Banner, or This Is My Country? We rarely hear them, and we never hear them all the way through. The military choirs sing beautiful patriotic hymns and songs in front of grand audiences seen on television on the 4th of July, but rarely are they shown all the way through to the end.
Did you ever wonder why do we shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July? Do you know the answer? It started with John Adams our 2nd President. In a letter to his wife, Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote: “… the occasion should be commemorated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more….” The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia.
So today on this celebration of our 241st birthday, celebrate and take time to talk about whose shoulders you are standing upon today and offer up a prayer of thanks for those millions of Americans who came before you and endured untold hardship so you and I might sit in your backyards today and BBQ, drink soda, and watch those grand illuminations in the sky after dark.
God Bless America.