I am adding a few of my newspaper columns to my senator web page. This one is from 7/1/14
This week we celebrate Independence Day! This is one of my favorite holidays. Legislative District 2 is a very patriotic part of the state.
We have a high number of Veterans living in the area. We also have a number of great outdoor recreational areas that go right along with celebrating the day. There are a number of local celebrations that take place. Fourth of July to our nation and even the entire world. Outside of Easter and Christmas, American Independence Day is at the top of the list of days on the calendar in importance and magnitude to world history.
It’s fitting that we mark the day with bright lights in the sky. Our nation and our people have been a light to the world. Despite our ups and downs, and the current problems that we face, we are still the greatest nation on earth and our contributions to the world surpass all other nations.
We have given our blood and treasure to secure freedom and fight injustice around the world with no expectation of payment or conquering of lands in return.
Our farmers feed our nation, as well as the rest of the world. They do it at the world’s most efficient rate.
American innovation has led the world in technology, medicine, manufacturing, education and science. We have the best healthcare system in the world. We invented the car and took it further with mass production. We put man in flight and then put a man on the moon.
Our children still enjoy far more opportunities and access to education than they would anywhere else.
Even our contributions to the world of entertainment, arts and athletics surpasses the rest of the world. American movies and music are exported throughout the world. Our professional and amateur athletes are always near the top in international competitions.
If you’ve ever driven across our nation on a long trip or seen it from above on a cross-country flight, you’ve likely marveled at the scenery below. We are blessed with amazing landscapes and natural beauty that attracts travelers from all over the world.
All of these reasons make me swell with pride as an American. I hope they bring about those same sentiments for you as well.
It can be easy to pass off such pride and criticize patriotism as outdated or phony in our post-modern society. I can’t help but look at the number of amazing accomplishments that have happened in our relatively short existence as a nation by a people who have been allowed to pursue their own dreams in comparison to the rest of the world and not feel patriotic.
It’s a great principle, that we can disagree, even on the subject of love of country and patriotism, and not be hateful or act against our fellow Americans due to differences of opinion and philosophy. We can be thankful for our Constitution and Bill of Rights for making that possible. It’s something that is not possible in many parts of the world.
The term for this unique mash of people, productivity, creativity, ingenuity, pride, accomplishment, and genuine goodness is “American Exceptionalism”.
Our Founding Fathers certainly believed in that philosophy even without knowing exactly what it was at the time. I have two examples that I believe highlight that vision and sentiment.
You may have seen in history books and the Washington Cruisers Flag. This is a white flag with a green pine tree with a statement underneath that reads, “An Appeal to Heaven.”
The tree is symbolic of the Liberty Tree where patriots in Boston would gather at the time to discuss issues of importance. The message underneath was reflective of George Washington’s faith and reliance on divine guidance.
Before the Revolutionary War, George Washington was so convinced of the American cause and believed it was a righteous one that he was prepared to outfit his private fleet of six ships and take on the British Navy on his own. He had this flag made to fly on those six ships.
The other example deals with celebrating the day itself. After the Declaration of Independence was completed, John Adams wrote to his wife on his vision of how we would mark the day remembering our independence.
John Adams wrote the following to his wife Abigail:
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty; it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
George Washington would certainly be proud of our nation’s place in the world. John Adams would no doubt be proud of how we remember our independence today.
We are a remarkable nation. One of laws, and not of men. It takes extraordinary people to see our accomplishments to fruition. The American people have every reason to feel patriotic on this day, as we did in 1776.
America continues to be good because our people are good. Despite our differences, the issues that we face, and the sometimes divisive environment in dealing with our problems, we are still united and we display that patriotism on this day. Happy Independence Day! God bless America!