04 July, 2014

It's Independence Day!

I'm reading all over Facebook where people are wishing everyone a "Happy 4th of July." People are talking about their plans for picnics and backyard BBQ's and going out to watch fireworks tonight. Several have noted how peaceful it is as they sit quietly drinking their coffee and enjoying the serenity of such a beautiful morning. I love reading all these posts, and yet I find myself wondering... do they really realize the powerful statements they are making about the peaceful morning, the quiet neighborhoods, the joy of having family and friends gathering today to have a BBQ or cookout in their yards or the park?We are SO blessed as a people and as a nation. I hope no one takes it for granted.

I mean absolutely no disrespect toward anyone else with what I am about to say; I'm only expressing a personal conviction and find myself no 'better' than anyone else. It's just my personal view. Many years ago I came to a decision that I would not say, "Happy 4th of July" again.  It so happened on the morning of July 4, 2003 I was sitting in my house, drinking my coffee and (remember this was pre-Facebook" days) I sent out a mass email to my friends and family. Within a few minutes I received a rather scathing email reply from Wolfgang, a friend of mine in Berlin, Germany. He said in his reply that American's were arrogant (and a few other choice words) because we acted as if July 4 belonged to us only. He said, "you do realize that we have July 4th in Berlin as well, don't you?" He went on to say that in all countries around the world it was also July 4th and that the day was nothing special and that it was just another American excuse to be lazy and blow off a day of work with pay. 

I tried explaining to him why it was so special to us and Wolfgang's reply stuck in my heart and mind and remain there to this day. He said, "You speak of patriotic glory and it may well be as such for you, but I'd wager a bet that the vast majority of American's only see a day off work and a reason to get drunk." I tried to come up with a witty reply. I wanted to make him eat those words. But the sad truth was that deep in my heart, I knew Wolfgang was absolutely correct. Most American's probably do not give a second's thought to the purpose of the celebration or the day off work. Those who must work today are for the most part fussing about not having the day off... and without a thought of the great meaning of July 4, rather they are upset that they don't have a day off with pay or that they are missing a chance to party. 

I'm of the mind that we, as a Nation, need to cling to the meaning of this day. We must never lose the import of this day and what it symbolizes to each of us personally and as a people. Wolfgang was so right... because they have July 4th in every nation, but here in America, this is Independence Day. The trend over the last few decades has been to tear down and destroy patriotism in our young people, and for the most part, that plan has been very successful. Young people today have been taught that America is evil and that she must pay for her sins. Is America perfect? Not by a long shot. But I submit to you that for all her faults and failures, America is the greatest nation on earth and we are truly blessed to live here. Just imagine, if you will, how different your life would be if you had been born in Ethiopia. How about Iran? What if you had been born in China? Or any other country. How's your freedom and privilege sounding to you now?  

There is a reason that thousands, even millions of people from other countries risk life and limb to try to slip into this country illegally. They realize that even as an illegal, with the real threat of going to prison or deportation, they have a shot a much better life living in America. I wish all these knuckleheads who want to bash America and destroy her from within would open their eyes and ask themselves the question; "why do they keep coming here to America?"  The answer is simple; Because America is the greatest Nation on earth!

Happy Independence Day everyone!

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