“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” James Madison – 1778
The Fourth of July was instituted as a national holiday by Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 – just a year before I was born. The day would commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, In looking at the past 80 years, I have fond memories of spending this special day attending parades, decorating bikes, scooters and other wheeled objects with red, white and blue crepe paper. If by chance there was rain, we could count on that paper bleeding onto our hands. The day was a reminder of the cost of our nation’s freedom. We would sing patriotic songs – place our hand over our heart as we pledged allegiance to America – spend time with family at reunions laden with potato salad, ice cream, hot dogs and lots of homemade baked items. We might spend time swimming, boating, going to band concerts, or just plain relaxing, but the thought of God and country were foremost in our thoughts. A sense of patriotism was always at the forefront.
Those days have gone and past. I’ve seen many changes in the appreciation for being able to live in this great land of ours. As many cultures mix and blend to create an even more diverse culture, some of that patriotism has gone by the wayside. I am still so proud of my country – our flag – our morals and principles – our “American Dreams,” our hope for a future that would include all of those things. Honoring those who gave their lives in various battles over the years has somehow lessened. We have special days for that, but they aren’t treated in the same honorable way.
I have thoughts about where our country is going and how mixed up everything has become, but I still have hope for the future. I pray that my grandchildren and their children will also feel that way when they begin to raise their families. America was founded with the greatest of intentions. Those of us who truly love this county are committed to her governing – her future – her sense of hope – her citizens – and remembering that we are a country of independent individuals who have freedoms beyond our wildest dreams. Yet we must remain responisbile, accountable, and caring of all people who live here.
I’m sure my descendants will wonder about the future as I do today. I’m sure they will be concerned for the direction we are taking. One thing will remain the same for those of us who conside her a nation under God. As Ronald Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under.”