Monday, July 04, 2005

What Do We Love About America?

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It's the Forth of July, independence Day, the second most wonderful holiday of the year (to me) both because of it's proximity to my birthday (July 1st), and because it celebrates the birth of the most fantastic nation on earth. The more I travel around the world, to Mexico, Panama, Columbia, France, Germany, Luxemburg, England, Qatar,& Iraq, I find more and more how wonderful your majestic country is.

First off we are large, one of the largest by both land mass and population, and yet we are peaceful within. Our political process allows for the peaceful transfer of power, and the relative representation of all, along with the ability to speak up when we are not being represented properly.

Most of all however, what I love most about this great land we call home is Freedom. We have varying amounts of freedom throughout our country, but in the overall we have the most freedom and liberty of any country in the world and we have a system set in place that by it's nature allows, and insists upon our freedom. Our freedoms are evident even in the civilized countries of the European union, where in many places they have no choices as to who is their doctor, or where they will get their food, or even what they will drive. Freedom is the cornerstone upon all we have done, is built. It continues today to be the driving force behind all we do.

ok , now for the sappy part, the part that best shows how I feel about my homeland. It is a song that every time I hear it, brings a tear to my eye, and chokes my throat with pride.
Lee Greenwood is darn near a genius for this one song alone.

"Proud to be an American"
(God Bless The U.S.A.)

by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone
.. I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
.. With just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky stars
.. To be livin' here today.
Cause the flag still stands for freedom
.. And they can't take that away.

And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
. . Next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA

From the lakes of Minnesota
... To the hills of Tennessee
... Across the plains of Texas
... From sea to shining sea
... From Detroit down to Houston
... And New York to LA
Well there's pride in every American heart
And its time we stand and say..

That I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
. . Next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA

And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
. . Next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA!

"I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free, And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me, And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today, 'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God Bless the U.S.A."

There are few songs that speak as strongly to America's patriotic pride as Lee Greenwood's classic "Proud to be an American". America is a land filled with courageous, giving people. People who fight for what is right. People who won't tolerate bullies. People who are there in times of crisis. And people who lend a hand.

We are a people who are proud to call ourselves Americans. God Bless the U.S.A. is a celebration of the legacy of freedom and the determination that made the U.S.A. the country it is.

From John Adams' telling his wife about the great decision to make the colonies "free and independent States" to Abraham Lincoln's resolve that the "government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth"; from the remarkable spirit of Chicago after the city was destroyed by fire, to Martin Luther King's dream that we all join hands and sing "Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, we are free at last," this song portrays the indomitable spirit that has characterized Americans for nearly 230 years. I have faith that its spirit will carry us at least 230 more.

Zaphriel - Birth of a Neocon

Americans are the only people who, faced with a system of oppression, chose liberty instead of another form of oppression. America was the first nation where oppression was the exception, rather than the rule, where forced labor was a matter of controversy rather than an accepted fact. America chose freedom, instead of one of the infinitely diverse forms of society ordered on violence. It is this initial choice that has allowed America to withstand and thrive despite the later intrusions of violence into social relations under an expanded government, and so long as it is recognized will counteract or at least retard the further expansion of the government.
This is why I love America.

Tom - Hamster Motor

This 4th of July we will celebrate the Independence Day of our Nation from British rule. We celebrate a day when a cocky group of the Crown's Subjects decided they were no longer going to live under the yokes of tyranny and decided that make it or break it, they were going to stand up and say "NO MORE!"

When I think of the things that I love about America and being American, one of them that first stands out, is the land itself. Where else in the world can one find sandy, sunny beaches, oceans that stretch as far as the eye can see, deserts that are home to Saguaro cactus and purple sage and mountains that tower to over 14,000 feet, capped with snow year around? America. It is one of the things that makes "America the Beautiful" one of my favorite songs about our nation. You remember the song:

"Oh beautiful,for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain! For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain!"

The song written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893, exemplifies what is beautiful and unique about our nation.

As a child, I saw my share of hard times in life. The thing was, we never KNEW they were hard times. We were kids and kids, well-- they will make fun wherever they go.
One of my great memories was the traveling we did. Again, where else but in America can you get in your car and just GO?? The highways and by-ways stretch out before us just as the prairie stretched open before the settlers. We roasted marshmallows by a fire in Southern California, lit fireworks in Las Vegas, Nevada, panned for gold in Colorado, stepped quietly into the Great Kiva in Aztec, New Mexico, stood in four states at once at the Four Corners Monument and looked out about both sides of our nation from the mighty Continental Divide. Yes, where else, but in America?

Being raised in the Southwest, I was exposed to more than one culture then my own. I was raised in the long shadow of Shiprock and grew up with the Tribes of America's West. I also was raised with the grandchildren of the Spanish and Mexican folk that had called New Mexico home for hundreds of years. Between us all, we found a way to co-exist, appreciate and celebrate the differences and similarities between the Anglo, the Indian and the Latino Cultures. Where else but right here in America? We are indeed a melting pot of cultures and ways and colors of skin, yet I learned as a young child in the Southwest, we can all get along. Some of my friends worshipped in churches, some out on the land, some didn't go to church at all but that was the great thing about being raised there, it really didn't matter to anyone. If you were a good person, helped your neighbor, respected the land, there would always be room for you. That is how the melting pot works.

America has its issues, its trials and troubles but you know, as I sit here writing these words, I am brushing the tears back from my cheeks and thinking "Wow, you know, this is STILL the best country in the world. It's STILL the land of dreams, still HOME."
So wherever you are today-- whatever your creed, whatever your political affiliation, whatever your sex or sexual preference, whatever your handicap, whatever your color, whatever your location, May you be blessed with remembrances of happy days, youthful idealisms and dreams that have yet to be accomplished. As you consider these, remember this as well: Only in America may you do so in unfettered freedom, supported by the Spirit that made this country what it is today. May this coming year, be one in which your freedoms inspire you to reach for and achieve your destiny.

Happy Independence Day!

Patricia - Ancient Eyes for Current Times

This time of year the question, What's so great about America? is always on my mind. For me, the answers are found in the songs I learned about this country.

For a long time, the words of the old song, That's America to Me pretty much answered the question. I remember singing the song in elementary school:

What is America to me
A name, a map, or a flag I see
A certain word, democracy
What is America to me

The house I live in
A plot of earth, the street
The grocer and the butcher
Or the people that I meet
The children in the playground
The faces that I see
All races and religions
That's America to me

The place I work in
The worker by my side
The little town the city
Where my people lived and died
The howdy and the handshake
The air a feeling free
And the right to speak your mind out
That's America to me

The things I see about me
The big things and the small
That little corner newsstand
Or the house a mile tall
The wedding and the churchyard
The laughter and the tears
The dream that's been a growing
For more than two hundred years

The town I live in
The street, the house, the room
The pavement of the city
Or a garden all in bloom
The church the school the clubhouse
The millions lights I see
Especially the people
That's America to me

Then came 9/11. The song took on a whole meaning, as I watched the implied safety of those lyrics vanish in the rubble of that day. On that awful day, we experienced something that hadn't occurred since the War of 1812, an attack on our shores, on our neighborhoods, on us.

Yet, from deep in the rubble of that "Day When the World Stopped Turnin'" the song continued, and grew in volume.
The Church still stands.
So does the school.
So does the word democracy.
The United States of America continues to stand, just as it did when the song was written.
Just as it did after the death of thousands in New York City, Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania.

We continue to stand for freedom. We continue to stand as the beacon of liberty for the world.

We continue to stand as the the beacon of liberty for our children. And there's the real answer to the question, What Do I Love About America? What I love most is that fact that I can tell my two children how proud I am to be a citizen of the United States, and mean every word of it. I can teach them the songs of this nation, and know they will pass them on to their children.

That's America to me.

Mark - Liberty Just In Case

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