A country, nation, or sovereignty, is generally, and stereotypically (for better or worse) known for a few things it has built, experienced, and shared with the rest of the world, for example, China is known for the Great Wall, its dynasties, modern manufacturing capability, its landmass and population size. Italy is known for the monuments and roadway systems of its ancient cities, the Pax Romana, the Renaissance, its art, the luxury goods. India has the Taj Mahal, Mahatma Gandhi, its colorful festivals. Israel, its holy sites, its birth, its conflict. And their respective foods, oh the food, all the food worth mentioning… for each and every wonderful place and meal… but I would digress greatly…. so in the interest of time we move on….
The United States of America has New York City and Los Angeles, Wall Street and Hollywood, world currency, the entertainment industry, capitalism, Thanksgiving, the Christmas season, Coca Cola, Nike, muscle cars, baseball, chewing gum, national parks, rock & roll. I am not trying to oversimplify or demean America with any of the aforementioned because our country IS the beautiful complex “melting pot”, land of opportunity that allows small businesses and corporations, imports and domestic everythings, people everywhere to experience perhaps the greatest and most mind-boggling notion of all when you sit and ponder the nature of man, the ways of life: freedom.
Our thing is really freedom. Before the hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza, which our country is also known for, it’s freedom for which we are known best in the world. No one in a different country trying to escape their oppressive government says, “I’m going to America to try the barbecue.” (Couldn’t blame them if they did.) It’s the “liberty and justice for all” that is the ‘Merican magnet. It’s the “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence that gets us the draw. We believe in it. We wrote it into the Declaration of Independence and decades later still, the world wishes for it and works towards it and we are who we are because of it.
I love knowing that the concept that some say America is, began as such. Yes, a beautiful concept, we celebrate her, but we do so knowing that the Republic is reality because we dared for her. And we keep her.
The Battle of Gettysburg began July 1st, 1863, one of the largest military conflicts in North American history. This long weekend we celebrate Independence Day, July 4th, 1776. I am no historian, but I sure do appreciate the facts: folks risked their lives for freedom, put simply. Independence, liberty, justice. We are America because we fight for freedom, and freedom is America.
So before the fireworks, the beer, the slaw, the music, the friends, the family, and definitely, with all of those things(!), we cheer with those who dare, those who keep, those who appreciate (and even, yes, even those who don’t appreciate), those who remember, those who know, America!
Happy Independence Day!