When I was in elementary school, we would start each school day by standing next to our desks, facing the American flag, hands over our hearts, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance together. It was this simple act of respect that planted the seeds of love for my country. Some days we would sing together patriotic songs such as “America the Beautiful”, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”, and “This Land is Your Land.” During those formative years, I learned our independence had been hard won and I was grateful to have been born in a land where freedom rings. I was also taught that America was a great “melting pot” of cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. Our differences were celebrated and we worked together to make the USA a better place for all. Over the past few years, I have been disheartened to see a breaking down of this fundamental ideal. Time and time again, I think of the words of Abraham Lincoln:
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
I sincerely hope that Abraham Lincoln was not a psychic! America’s 241st birthday is coming up and so this Friday I am sharing my favorites things about my homeland.
50 amazing states – you could spend your whole life exploring all the wonders! Mountains, beaches, rolling hills, forests, swamps, deserts, volcanoes, fields of flowers, and amber waves of grain! Monuments, museums, skyscrapers, farmhouses, subways, dirt roads, small towns, big cities, and everything in between. Diners, restaurants, food trucks and food stands with every type of of meal you can think of and more. Festivals, fairs, parks, concerts, plays, and don’t forget Disneyland!
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me!
(lyrics by Woody Guthrie)
America is the country where you can achieve a better life for yourself regardless of the circumstances of your birth or social class. Sometimes I think we’ve forgotten that this is not something that is handed out to you. You actually have to work for it. Countless Americans have done it and in the process have made the lives of others better as well.
George M. Cohan said it best:
For those who fought for freedom and for those who continue to fight to protect it, I am eternally grateful.
The Statue of Liberty
Standing on the broken shackles and chains of oppression and tyranny and holding a torch that lights the way to freedom, she has been a beacon of hope for generations.
God Bless America!