“The United States is the only country with a known birthday.” ~James G. Blaine
The United States of America. It’s my country and I wouldn’t have wanted to be a native citizen of any other country in this world. Patriotic? Yes, I am. As some unknown person once said, “My blood runs red, white, and blue.”
Why? Because I grew up in a time when we were taught to be proud of our nation yet remember the utmost sacrifices that were made to secure freedom and never take that freedom for granted.
I was taught that the Declaration of Independence was written with these words:
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I learned the preamble to the United States Constitution and what that important document established:
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
My parents taught me to honor the symbol of our nation and its freedom, our flag, and the proper way to treat it and display it. I still recite the pledge of allegiance to our flag.
I know every word to The Star Spangled Banner; My Country ‘Tis of Thee; America, the Beautiful, and God Bless America.
My love for my country does not supersede my love for my Lord, but I know that my nation cannot and will not survive without being one nation under God.
I pray for this great nation of mine because it seems like we are sinking into a muddy mire of our own doing. And it’s time for we the people to speak up and out. As I reflect on this day – this Independence Day – the 4th of July, the 240th birthday of my country, I take to heart the words of some of our founding fathers and former presidents because they still ring true.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~ Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
“How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” ~ Thomas Jefferson
“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” ~ Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779
“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” ~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower
And finally a birthday blessing straight from the song, America, the Beautiful, written by Katharine Lee Bates:
“America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”
Happy Birthday to my country, the United States of America. May God bless it and keep it and may it continue to be a shining light of liberty in a dark world of oppression.