I taught US History for a number of years when I was a teacher in the mid 80’s but in the years that have passed, I’ve forgotten more names and dates than I care to remember.
However, just because I’ve forgotten a few names and can’t remember a certain date or place that something of significance took place, doesn’t mean that I have forgotten the basic principles upon which this country was founded.
I am the first to admit that the history of the United States is complicated and imperfect. There are and will continue to be certain principles and facets of our history I don’t think I will ever fully understand or appreciate.
But I understand the man who wants more for his children than he had for himself. I sense his desperation. I feel his determination. I respect his resolve – crossing an ocean, leaving everything behind that had been – carrying nothing with him, but his hope and his will.
If I’m quiet and still, I can imagine what it might have been like for the early settlers to carve a road where there was nothing – exploring completely uncharted territories, in search of a new and better life, a place to belong. Setting their sights, slowly and painfully, they began to build…
A cabin. A church. A community. A little town.
Hard as I try, I can’t imagine what it must have cost. But having paid that unimaginable price, I can understand why they’d risk their lives again to protect what they’d built. In my mind, I hear their cry for freedom, along with each generation that has followed – so that the pursuit of life, and liberty and happiness can be enjoyed by all people…including me.
That is why I struggle with a government (any government) that would try to suppress anyone’s right to express their rights and beliefs. That includes any group or political party that I may disagree with. Seems to me that somewhere along the line we no longer can disagree without risking having your right to free speech threatened or at least monitored.
There are so many people who believe that it is the responsibility of the government to take care of all their needs. However, building a government that takes care of all your needs is not what this country was founded for. This country was founded on the principle of freedom from a controlling government that would impose its authority to the point that it’s citizens are no longer free to pursue the same dreams that previous generations enjoyed. This country was built upon spirit of hard work and self-determination. The freedoms we enjoy were given and defended by the blood of the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters that have sacrificed and fought for this great country.
It scares me to think of what this country will look like when my grandson is old enough to be a contributing part of society. My fear is it will not be the same country that I grew up in. Will the blood and the lives of those that sacrificed and served be given in vain?
Only time will tell.
I wish I could find a way to somehow say the right words.
But the only thing I can say is… “Thank You”.
To anyone who has paid a price for the freedom I enjoy,
To anyone who has fought a fight on my behalf,
Thank you for clearing a path for me to follow after.
Thank you for sacrificing much, so I wouldn’t do without.
Thank you for acting boldly and with great courage, even in the face of fear, even though it cost you everything. The life I live is built squarely on the shoulders of those that built this wonderful country.
Over 237 years have passed since the founding of this country and we find ourselves standing where generations before us once stood. Dreaming of days to come, building our future country by our words and deeds, creating what will someday be.
May we live up to the example of those who’ve come before us.
May we continue to cry out for our freedom and sacrifice to protect it.
May America continue to be the land of the Free and the Home Of The Brave.