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Let Freedom Ring!!

July 4, 2009

 let_freedom_ring_jpg_2

Image is a handpainted slate which can be purchased at http://www.artdesignsbyjulie.net/images

 

Between the slow economy and some of the questionable decisions our government has been making lately it has become quite easy to get disenchanted with being an American. I have always been a ‘flag waver’ but during the past several years I have begun to doubt what our country stands for. Unfortunately politics in our country has changed the United States from being the land of opportunity into a nation of opportunists. Corruption is found almost on a daily basis in one level or another in our government system. It is to the point that the announcement of these investigations on the evening news no longer creates a sense of shock, but rather a growing frustration with our system of democracy.

Several years ago I took our flag down from the porch post when we were painting. I never put it back up. Last summer I repainted the porch and still did not rehang the bracket that holds the flag. Every once in a while I see the flag standing in the back corner of our coat closet and I remind myself that I should get it out and get it hung. But, whether conciously or unconciously, I just think, “What difference does it make.” 

This evening I was busy making potato salad, cole slaw, a cake and two pies for tomorrow’s family 4th of July barbeque. I put the steaks in to marinate overnight, cleaned the sweet corn, and swept off the porch, set up a long table, and got the extra lawn chairs out of the storage building. I was going through all the tradional motions of preparing for another family holiday when it finally dawned on me that I had long forgotten the reason for the celebration. The anniversary of our nation’s freedom had been reduced to another reason to get the family together for a dinner.

I guess for most families holidays have become just that, just another reason for a family get-to-gather with very little thought being given to what should be the reason for the celebration. Thanksgiving is a day to eat turkey, watch the football games, and get ready for Black Friday shopping.  Christmas is the day to pass out the bargains found on Black Friday. New Year’s is a good excuse to get plastered. Easter is all about hiding eggs for the little ones. And Memorial Day is simply the start of summer. How shallow our nation has become.

I sat on my clean porch this evening and questioned why this is. I think the dying of the American spirit and the belief in something other than ourselves has been a slow process. We have become spoiled by our freedoms and have demanded more, which has been aided by the Civil Liberties Union. A prime example is our freedom to own a gun. From a right to bear arms as given in our Constitution in opposition to the British trying to disarm the Colonists militias, we now have a nation that believes this means we as individual citizens should have the freedom to own any kind of gun, including the fully automatic weapons designed for mass destruction. I personally think this is overkill (pun intended) for hunting for food or protecting your family. I could go through our entire constitional rights and show where we have veered so far away from rights for “we the people” to “my rights,” but I won’t.

 My point is that I, like so many other Americans, have forgotten the true meaning of holidays because we have forgotten we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. Maybe if more of us would think about what America is supposed to be all about instead of what we want, then maybe we wouldn’t have so much corruption in our government. Of course that would mean we should demand our elected officials to represent our values, the ones where ‘we the people’ come before ‘me the citizen’ or ‘me the failing business needing a bailout.’  

At this point, I have decided that I need to get back to being grateful to be an American citizen. I also need to help instill that in my grandchildren. I have taken our flag out of the closet and washed it. Tomorrow during our family get-to-gether we will celebrate the true meaning of the 4th of July holiday; not with just eating a great meal and watching fireworks, but by rehanging the American flag and talking about what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America. Let freedom ring and the flag forever wave!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2009 8:24 pm

    What a truly inspirational post. Even for those of us who aren’t American your sentiment rings true. I see the apathy regarding holidays seeping in to every aspect of my life in Australia. I wish people could be more grateful for what they have, but we just seem to want more and more, don’t we? Freedom is something we should give thanks for every day. It is a privilege not a right!

    • July 5, 2009 1:33 pm

      Yes, freedom is a privilege that has been paid for by many lives and continues to be protected by many more. We had an interesting evening hanging our flag. I will be posting a story later today about it.

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