I suppose the best way is to just blurt out what I am and how much it means to me. I am a mut with at least nine different national backgrounds, and I am American born and bread. My parents and grandparents were all American. Stretch back much farther, and we'll be sure to touch the sunny coast of Italy or France. A little bit farther than that, and we'll hit chilly Poland or misty Ireland. Keep going, and we'll reach foggy England and the flower-strewn Netherlands. Back further...and we're back where we are now, living off the land in a North American tribe before the first white man set foot here.
We are a land of mix-breeds who dared to dream. Yankee grit and a refusal to quit shaped us, and our cultural spirit is one of pride and exuberance. We used the hand-me-downs from the never-say-die Brits to kick-start us, and then started sewing for ourselves. All those immigrants had an ax to grind and nothing to loose. So they turned their nose to the grind-stone and ground. What we have now is the result, thanks to the blessings of the Almighty.
Of course, like Britain, there is always the element of quest involved in the American Experience. There was the quest to found us as sea-strewn colonies and the quest to make us independent. I must confess I am a Loyalist sympathizer when it comes to the American Revolution. However, I cannot help but admire the daring brilliance of those complex characters, those Adams and Jeffersons and Washingtons, that caused thousands of others to catch the flame and sacrifice everything for the cause in which they believed. One thing I can say with certainty: For better or for worse, we Yanks have always been determined to make our voices heard, and when that right is denied us, we fight to the bitter end for it. I wouldn't have it any other way.
We won our independence from Great Britain and stood up to survey our successes. Then we struggled to build ourselves politically and economically and pushed west to inhabit the "wide open spaces". Unfortunately, the lust for land and the desire for material gain often hindered the idealogical quest of freedom and equality. There was slavery and mistreatment of the native population. Segregation and violence was part of our society, just as it is the world over. It took copious amounts of blood and brains to finally overcome the worst of it, and that was slow in happening. But the fact is, for the most part, it did happen. We can be rightly proud of that.
This Monday was Memorial Day, on which we remember our fallen American heroes who gave their lives for our country. My father and I walked through the cemetary at Gettysburg on Sunday to put ourselves into perspective. It was amazing to think that thousands of brave men faced their deaths on battlefields not far from the sight, and that we were following in their path. I must admit, I am not a major American Civil War buff, but it was the sacrifice of the men of that age that helped shape our country into what it became: United, Strong, and Free. To be moved by the sheer weightiness of this fact is the only thing possible.
The 20th century brought us into a variety of world conflicts, and we were proficient in aiding those who sought to free themselves from tyrannical regimes. In the end, our country took no land away at the end of these conflicts but the land in which our soldiers were buried in. We have a comparitively short yet proud military tradition, one which exemplifies America as a whole. Like most countries, our best and our worst, the epitome of ourselves, comes out in the display of our armed forces. They are ready to risk their lives daily under our flag, Old Glory, and I salute them for their service.
But the "American ideal" is still a star that we are following without ever being able to completely possess it. Today we have the horrors of abortion, the killing of young lives inside their mother's womb. We have the redefinition of marriage springing up to alter our society in the name of a perverted sense of liberalism. We have become so open-minded, many of our brains seem to have fallen out. Now recently, we have the HSS Mandate, and the push to force religious institutions to bend to the will of the government and provide sterilization and contracptive services, even if it goes against their beliefs. So now we have a new fight on our hands.
America has always been a land of religious people. From our Native American forebearers, to our Protestant founders, to our Catholic and Jewish immagrants, we are a nation that has sought the face of God. I am a Christian, and I believe firmly in the Judeo-Christian beliefs and principles of our ancestors. Our Christian national identity has been something much maligned this last half a century. Indeed, there were always ardent secularists, but we have been getting a concentrated dose of late. Religion is something they feel should have no place at all in public life. It should serve merely as "a private thing" or else come bow to the will of the government. Obviously, our forefathers didn't feel religion should be treated this way, but the modern liberals do, so they want us to submit to their whims. Sorry, Partners, but it just ain't happenin'.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is preparing to launch the "Fortnight for Freedom" from June 21 to July 4. This 14 day period will be a time of prayer, education, and action to defend our religious liberties that are currently under assault. This is not just a Catholic issue; Protestants, Mormons, Jews and others are urged to join in the fight and let their voices be heard in protest against the direct interference of the government in religious institutions. For more information, go to: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/ For ideas on how you can get involved, go to: http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/
The United Staes of America is our country, our motherland, and it is our duty to protect and defend her. It is also our duty to fight to make her a better place, to right the wrongs and settle the scores. We are a stubborn, wiry, deternmined "Yankee Son-of-a-guns", after all. We don't quit easily and never get discouraged in our star-chasing. So, with the help of God and Our Lady, Our Patroness Immaculate, let's fight to make that dream of peace with honor and liberty with sensability become a reality, and let's reach for the highest star with one hand and hold onto the Cross of Christ with the other.
|God Bless America|