Thursday, July 4, 2013

God Bless the United States of America

I am proud to be an American.  Here are four of many reasons why I love my country! 

1) Though we all come from different backgrounds and circumstances, though we all have different personalities, though we all have different callings in life, we are all Americans.  Each of us has a voice, a unique perspective to give to the world.  As Americans, we celebrate the value of each individual person.  Whether you are a soprano, an alto, a tenor, or a bass, your contribution is important and valued.  Make sure you add your voice to the harmony!  

 I Hear America Singing.
    I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
    Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
    The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
    The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
    The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, 
the deck-hand singing on the steamboat deck,
    The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, 
the hatter singing as he stands,
    The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, 
or at noon intermission or at sundown,
    The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, 
or of the girl sewing or washing,
    Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
    The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of 
young fellows, robust, friendly,
    Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
                                       - Walt Whitman

2)  If you are a student of American History, you have probably heard of Frederick Jackson Turner and his theory that America is what it is today because of the physical presence of a frontier, a geographical line where civilization meets the wild and the unknown.  This border's existence made people itch to find out what life was like on the other side, to blaze trails and to discover.  Turner argues that that yearning to press pass their limits created a people obsessed with discovery, innovation, and new opportunity.  Whether or not you agree with Turner's theory, America definitely has a legacy of trailblazers and pioneers that continues to this day even though the physical frontier has disappeared.  We sometimes risk it all to find out what kind of opportunities are out there in uncharted territory.  But we have found that sometimes the end result is worth the price.  We are a nation of innovators and adventurers, of explorers and pioneers.  Keep that legacy going!

3)  Not many countries have the variety of breathtaking landscapes that America does.  How many countries in the world have beaches, forests, deserts, canyons, mountains, and plains all within their borders?  I love America for its beauty.

4)  The main reason I love America is because it was built by men and women who put aside differences and personal agendas to create a truly inspired idea for governance, one based on personal freedom but still within the bounds of law and order.  I sometimes wonder that if I were born during that time, would I have had the courage to do what they did?  Or would I have sat back and resigned myself to dominion from the British?  I wonder if I would have thought, as it says, in the Declaration of Independence, "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." These men and women, though, put their lives on the line because they believed that America could be so much greater, a nation that allowed its people their God-given rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," a nation that's based on "the idea that we all have value."  For the founders' courage and determination, I will be forever grateful.  We truly live in "the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

O say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Happy Independence Day!

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