We’ve all heard the words. Most of us know them by heart.
“My country ’tis of thee…sweet land of liberty…
Of thee I sing….”
Sweet land of liberty; land of freedom. A county where we are free to come and go as we please. To worship as we please. To speak our minds even when our thoughts are in disagreement with others. Where reporters are free to report all sides of a story, hopefully in an unbiased fashion, without fear of being put in jail.
A country where women are allowed to go to school, to drive cars, to vote, and yes, even hold public office. Unlike many other countries around the world.
A country where an entrepreneur can start his own business and turn it into a highly successful company, without fear of the government coming in and taking it over for their own selfish motives and steal the profits.
We live in a land where we as individuals have the greatest freedoms in the world. A country which was established some 241 years ago when we declared our freedom as colonies and became an independent nation.
It was not without cost, however. We had to fight a war against a tough country…with muskets and cannons and other forms of weaponry which would be laughed at today as totally useless. With no radios, no telegraphs, no phones, no internet, no airplanes; no way to communicate with the armies of men fighting for their cause except by messengers on horseback.
But these men were committed to the cause of freedom, and they fought long and hard.
And they won.
Sadly, today, approximately 25% of our country doesn’t even know what country we fought against for our freedom that established this great land. They most likely haven’t even read the Declaration of Independence. As the saying goes, those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it. And that is something we never want to go through again. And we don’t want the beginnings of the history of our great nation to be forgotten.
Our current president ran on a platform to “make America great again”. This is not a political commentary first of all, and I am not either supporting or condemning the President. Those who know me personally don’t really know my feelings about him and this is not the place or the day to discuss them.
What I will say, however, is that our country IS great. It has never stopped being great. It always has been great, and I pray it always will be. I believe some have lost the vision, the insight, and the appreciation for what we have in this nation because they’re too focused on themselves and their own wants and desires.
You protest, and sometimes make outlandish and totally ridiculous and even offensive comments and claims because “it’s our right!” You set fire to other people’s property who’ve done nothing to you just because you want to protest something, and you say “it’s my right.” Yes it is, but you don’t have the right to destroy other people’s property and disrupt other people lives for your own sake. Do you have any idea the price that was paid to give you that right? And the price that is being paid around the world every day to make sure you have that right. Most likely you don’t even realize it. Or don’t care.
You protest the military members and even make fun of them. That’s totally wrong, but yes, you do have that right, because the very people you’re protesting are the ones who make sure you keep that right. Many have died to be sure you have that right, and unfortunately many more will. Is that how you thank them? And their families?
Many protest against the police when they do their job, taunt them, throw rocks and bottles at them, and call them pigs. And yes, sometimes their actions may be wrong in the heat of a situation that none of us can understand unless we’ve been there. But when something bad happens to you, they’re the first people you call for help. You forget how much you dislike them, because suddenly you’re on the other side of the fence and need their help. And you’d be in bad shape if they refused to respond because THEY were protesting YOU.
You listen to everything actors, musicians, sports figures, and other celebrities say negative about our country and think it’s ok, but if our country were attacked again, how many of them would be willing to go to battle and risk their lives and the fortunes they’ve made in this free country of ours in order to protect her? I dare say not many. Talk is cheap; actions are costly.
You think it’s alright to break laws you don’t like…laws you don’t agree with. But you forget laws are enacted for a reason; if you don’t like a particular law, work to get it changed within the system rather than just say you’re not going to abide by it, and go out and break it. Without laws all we would have is anarchy. What kind of example are you setting for our next generation?
You think it’s ok to burn our flag in protest because some Hollywood star said it’s a great way to protest, and you dishonor the symbol of our freedom and our nation. And the stars on that flag are screaming in their own silent protest as you burn them, because the hearts of those who fought so hard and even died to protect it are breaking.
John Kennedy said in his inaugural speech “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Have we lost sight of that vision as well?
Yes today is July 4th. Independence Day. We have pool parties and cookouts. We watch fireworks. We spend time with family and friends and most of us don’t even stop to think about what we’re celebrating. Don’t stop to think of all the men and women who aren’t with their loved ones in this day, either because they’re serving the country they love, or they died to defend her honor.
And the fireworks? We “ooh” and “ahh” over them, and then we complain about how noisy they are. But we forget the real fireworks that have lit up so many skies from guns and artillery, canon balls and mortar shells aimed at our flag and our country by people who are trying to destroy us and our way of life.
Our flag and our country have withstood a lot, and most likely will have to endure a lot more strife, a lot more threats, and unfortunately most likely more attacks from outside enemies intent on destroying us because of the very freedoms we enjoy.
Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star Spangled Banner” because he was so moved to see our torn and tattered flag still flying high over Fort McHenry after a long and horrible night of battle. A battle which could have easily gone the other way.
May that flag continue to wave…over the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Happy Independence Day. Let freedom continue to ring.
And may God bless America.