"Let England know our willingness,/For that our work is good,/ We hope to plant a nation/ Where none before hath stood." ~Newes From Virginia 1610
"One cannot be an American by going about saying one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work." ~ Georgia O'Keefe
Today is the American Independence Day! I feel compelled to write a patriotic blog today, so this is what you get.
Today we celebrate our Independence from England. It is a day where we remember the men who fought so fiercly for our freedom. We remember the men who founded our country and the values that drove them to seek Independence. We celebrate it on July 4, because it was on July 4, 1776 that our Continental Congress adopted The Declaration of Independence. (Even though we did not actually gain true freedom until much later.)
I'm half tempted to go into a history lesson about the writing of The Declaration of Independence, but I won't. All that I will say, is if you do not know much about the history, there is a brilliantly hilarious and truely entertaining musical called "1776" that tells the story of the The Declaration of Independence. You must watch it some time.
Today I really just want to talk about what I think it means to be American. I included the quote at the top from Georgia O'Keefe because it rather eloquently conveys they way I feel. America is a nation where anyone, no matter how lowly of a person you are, anyone can aspire to be whoever, or whatever they want to be, but you have to be willing to work your way up. I was born and raised in America and I feel that I have been ingrained with that feeling that I can do anything I want to do, so long as I put forth the effort. No one is going to hand me my dreams, I have to work for them on my own. I think people who immigrate to America also come here understanding that America will give them the opportunity to live a better life, but we expect them to work for it.
I admit that Americans often give off the idea that we are lazy and accustomed to luxury, but at our heart, we are a nation of people who are willing to work to earn our keep. I think, we all fall victim to the desire to get something for nothing. Who doesn't want an easy life? But, when the luxury fades and so do the opportunities for people to work hard, then our nation shows it's true colors. Especially now, our entire country has been suffering from an economic recession. My own sister has been out of a job for almost two years. Our opportunities are disappearing, and that is freaking us out. For over two hundred years, our country has stood on the principal belief that everyone is entitled to the pursuit of happiness. We've all been taught that if we work hard, we can have whatever life we want, but now, there is no work. The only avenue to happiness that we know of is disappearing. It is a sad time.
But Americans also know how to hope. We battled for our independence from England, we struggled through a bitter civil war, and we suffered through the Great Depression and we still made it through. You don't have to look far to find the spirit of hope in America. Listen to the lyrics of our National anthem, and you will see, the spirit of America is hope. It is not defiance, or pride. It is hope, that we will survive through the battle. We will, because that is the spirit of America.
"O! say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
I have one last quote to share with you and then I will say goodbye. I think the quote is a good testament to our past, and a good warning for the future. We should not forget it.
"Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity and hardihood - the things that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, saftey first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." ~Theodore Roosevelt (the 26th president of the United States)
Thanks for reading. Have a happy Independence Day! Be safe, and goodbye 'till tomorrow. :-)