The 4th of July: What does it mean?

Happy 4th of July! The 1st of July is the 182nd day of the year. As you watch the fireworks tonight, consider that today is now the 185th day of the year. This probably will make little or no difference to your enjoyment of the display you go to see. Each year, the displays seem to get more spectacular. I am rather surprised since the economy has been in a recession and everyone is cutting back on spending. Nevertheless, the fireworks displays seem to be longer and more unique each year. This weekend we could go to a display on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.  The loud explosions, dazzling sparkles and bright flashes of color contrasting with the grey smoke really bring home to me the vision that drove Francis Scott Key to write the “Star Spangled Banner.” 

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?

The American Flag, the 4th of July, The Declaration of Independence and the “Bombs” we know are still bursting somewhere around our soldiers tonight are more than just images of a unique US Brand. They are more than just symbols of our heritage. They are down payments on a legacy that is part of our fundamental American beliefs. Our Forefathers created a system of government that was based on the idea that all men and eventually this included women (and truly all men) were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This was the most positive, uplifting and life affirming message the world had even witnessed. It became the great American experiment. The only other country to ever come close to America in creating an entirely new life affirming belief system for its citizens was Greece. Sadly, the Greek experiment failed to continue but its message has helped to form a foundation for every other experiment in democracy the world over. 

There are those who argue that the “ascendency” of the American experiment is now over. It is opined that just like Rome, France, Great Britain and many other empires, America is on the downside of its greatness. China, India, Japan and Brazil are noted as possible successors. Perhaps from a military or economic view this will be true. But taken from the perspective of the belief system that undergirds America, there are no countries that are even close. We do not always practice what we preach. Moreover, in many areas of life, we seem to have lost our way. Our politicians are often guided more by party politics than by the good of the American people.The Power of the American Brand is not our rugged independence nor our vast economic resources. Our Power remains what it was 237 years ago.  An ideology that recognizes the hopes and dreams of all people for a better life based on merit and respect.

As you enjoy your barbecue, your picnics and your fireworks, rest assured, the core of the American experiment, the ideology that has brought and continues to bring millions to the shores of America will ring forever through the halls of history. The world will never forget that someday and in some place, there were a people who lived, worked, fought and died for the belief that “we”, the people, including the rich, the poor and all minorities have a set of inalienable rights. As long as we practice and believe in this message for all people, we will remain a great nation. We will remain a nation that is great in spirit and great in heart. As long as we care more about others than we do ourselves, our Nation will be a spiritual and moral beacon to the oppressed and downtrodden of the world. Greatness cannot be measured in economic and monetary measures. Measure the greatness of a people by the greatness of their message. By that standard, America is the greatest nation that has ever existed. 

Time for Questions:

Do you believe in the American Vision? Do you believe it is for all people or just for Americans? When was the last time you actually read the Declaration of Independence? Do you know the difference between Patriotism and Jingoism? Do you vote on strict party lines or do you vote what is best for your country?

Life is just beginning.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. QMM
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 16:50:43

    Your blog is a collection of essays. I learned a new word today. Jingoism. Yes to go to extreme in patriotism. That is a common occurrence in any belief system. Back and forth we go. Got to have a happy medium in anything. We sat in our garage and watched neighborhood displays as the rain came down. 6 days in a row. Sound familiar. We are waiting for the ark to make a stop in our neighborhood.

    Reply

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