Happy Independence Day!

It was 243 years ago that America was born, July 4, 1976.

On July 4, it seems like more American flags can be seen proudly waving, and that is good. As this country celebrates Independence Day, let’s realize that we are very blessed to live here.

On July 4, 1776, a total of 56 colonial leaders signed the Declaration of Independence. With this signing, these leaders declared themselves, along with the 2.5 million people living in the 13 colonies, members of a new, independent nation, the United States of America. July 4, 2019, marks the 243rd anniversary of the country’s founding.

“But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations ... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”

– John Adams

A lot of people today seem to be saying this country isn’t that great and never has been. Perhaps we need a rekindling of the American Spirit. It is a spirit that has been pushed aside, maybe taken for granted. It is time to once again stand proudly as the national anthem is played, to maybe get a little misty-eyed at the chorus of “God Bless America.”

“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Many are tired of talking about America’s faults. They exist, but it is time to focus on what is right with this country and our way of life. And what is right about this country, what is good about America, could fill volumes.

“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”

– Thomas Jefferson

What is right about America, more than anything is the people, our people. And it always has been.

It’s brave pioneers pushing westward, breaking trails and settling the land. It’s the dignity of Native Americans from Plymouth Rock to Ira Hayes helping to raise Old Glory above Iwo Jima.

“Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.”

– President Ronald Reagan

It’s the inventors famous and not so famous who built the machines and made the dreams reality – from repeating rifles to telephones to automobiles to the Internet. It’s Charles Lindbergh courageously crossing the Atlantic alone, and American astronauts stepping onto the surface of the moon.

“Happily for America, happily, we trust, for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society.”

– James Madison

It’s Jesse Owens in the Olympics, embarrassing Adolph Hitler during World War II. It’s an ill Babe Ruth saying a final farewell to baseball fans at Yankee Stadium. It’s Bing Crosby at Christmas. It’s the humor of Charles Schultz bringing joy to generations with Peanuts. It’s Roy Rogers singing “Happy Trails.” It’s the strength of John Wayne riding tall in the saddle doing what’s right for America.

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

– Harry S. Truman

It’s Bob Hope bringing laughter to soldiers. It’s the magic of a guitar-playing country boy named Elvis who went from being a truck driver to a king. It’s Merle Haggard talking tough with “Fightin’ Side of Me,” Lee Greenwood reminding us of the important things with “God Bless The USA,” and Kate Smith singing Irvin Berlin’s immortal “God Bless America.”

“One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, One Nation evermore!”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

It’s George Washington kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge and President Abraham Lincoln uniting a broken country following the Civil War with a few scribbled words which came to be known as the Gettysburg Address. It’s Teddy Roosevelt carrying his big stick and Ronald Reagan winning the cold war.

It’s the famous and historical figures, yet it is also the common Americans who will never see their names in lights, but who day after day make this country great.

“A spirit of liberty and patriotism animates all degrees and denominations of men.”

– James Madison

It’s the men who love their wives and wives who love their husbands, working together hard and long to make a better tomorrow for their children.

It’s a fireman climbing a tree to rescue a kitten, a policeman who helps the homecoming parade navigate smoothly through the intersection, and the man who pulls over when you’ve broken down along the country road and asks simply, “How can I help?”

“The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor, and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.”

– President John F. Kennedy

It’s that good feeling you get when a little kid comes up a few cents short for a bottle of pop on a hot day, and you come through. It’s the magical sound of a church bell breaking the stillness of a late October morning as neighbors and friends gather to freely worship. You can’t do that in every country. But you can in America, because our nation is built on a foundation of faith.

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

– Erma Bombeck

It’s the farmer working dawn to dusk, the factory worker, the loggers, the miners, and the truck drivers. It’s the teacher staying after class just to help a student who needs a little extra encouragement and guidance, hoping it just might make a difference in that young life. It’s the doctor delivering a new baby, or the minister giving final rights to an old friend whose battle is ending.

“A government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

– Abraham Lincoln

It’s the elderly veteran of a previous war offering a salute to the young men and women now going off to battle those who would destroy what he fought so hard to secure so many years ago.

It’s the famous and the unheralded, Americans one and all, whose devotion to this great country is unwavering, whose dedication is unquestioned.

“I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

– Patrick Henry

It’s the people proudly achieving their goals and dreams through hard work, proving daily that the American Spirit is alive and that what’s good about America should be trumpeted from sea to shining sea.

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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