We celebrate our independence as Americans this weekend – all of us – but only a few actually appreciate (and remember) the cost of what it took to be what we are. I would suggest that those who do not remember take time to figure it out…and soon.
As we rightly celebrate the freedom of our nation on this 4th of July, it’s also poignant to consider how the passage of time – 245 years (since 1776) – has led many of us to forget about people and events that have culminated in becoming our national day. And it is our ‘national’ day, when we reflect upon the American Revolution, the Civil War, the World Wars, and every event associated with freedom and the American standard of life. And yet, in the midst of pageantry…we forget.
Now if any of you have made Press Pros a habit – have read my annual 4th of July commentary on how we secured the American way – you might recognize that the above paragraph is exactly how I opened last year’s column. I do that for perspective, because with each passing year we seem to draw further and further from the reality of what it’s taken to actually be ‘American’.
Put it this way. Where we once celebrated the history of how we got here, now we want to pretend it didn’t happen, and claim some kind of financial refund for anyone that suffered along the way.
What we really forget is that a helluva lot of people fought and died to make America the land of the free and the home of the brave. We fought Great Britain (twice), we fought ourselves (The Civil War), we fought the World Wars, the Korean War, and wars unspeakable since 1776 for the privilege of being the strongest, the most opportunistic…and the most coveted society IN THE WORLD. And if you question that because of the current progressive mindset that all we do is keep people down…ask yourself if there’s two million immigrants a year trying to get into Russia or China illegally to take advantage of those two great cultures. It’s a very simple burden of proof.
America got to be great at one time because we fought. We fought with our lives…and died…to rid ourselves of English oppression in the 18th century. All those wonderful stories about Paul Revere, the shot heard ’round the world, and Valley Forge…those aren’t fairy tales. It really happened, and if you want a sense of the suffering of oppressed colonists back then, go to Netflix and watch Mel Gibson’s movie, The Patriot, released in 2000. The events depicted in that film were common during the Revolutionary war. The British did lock the families of colonial fighting men in churches and set them on fire, along with innumerable other atrocities against those disloyal to the British crown: and all for the sake of breaking their spirit for living independent of a tyrannical King George III, also remembered for eventually going mad after losing the American colonies.
Now today our borders are threatened by those seeking asylum from that same kind of tyranny in Central American countries, which presents this great irony on the 4th of July. They say they need America for refuge – opportunity paid for by the blood of millions of Americans who sacrificed their last full measure since July 4, 1776.
How convenient, instead of executing the example of America – fighting on their own homeland to rid themselves of their own tyrants. No, it’s easier to take advantage of a discounted freedom that we paid for – one they CANNOT appreciate.
There is always suffering that comes with freedom, which is why we weep over the graves of our fallen as we rightly celebrate – appreciate – our independence day. And the fear is that with each passing generation we lose more of the will to actually ‘fight’ to preserve that which was purchased through the blood of our fathers. Sad irony: Some prefer it that way!
We don’t want to fight anymore. It’s barbaric. It’s not inclusive. And when our current president makes those statements about “the better angels of our nature” he’s borrowing from the sacrifice of others…because he never served, receiving five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War era.
The fact is that America is full of people who couldn’t, and wouldn’t, fight their way out of a wet bag because we have no stomach for conflict of any kind. Watch the Mel Gibson film and ask yourself if you could endure that kind of trial. And do you deny…that hardship and sacrifice is the mortgage of being an American?
William Faulkner, the Nobel Prize winning author, once wrote this about the fighting at Gettysburg: