As I sit here pondering what the 242nd birthday of the greatest nation the world has ever known means to me, my thoughts wander back to a cold cloudy December day in 1941. I was five years old, it was shortly after noon and my family was gathered around my Grandaddy’s big floor model radio, listening to a scratchy overseas broadcast that informed us that Pearl Harbor had just been attacked by Japanese bombers and fighter planes. It was my first experience of having to come to grips with reality, sensing the commitment of America’s people and the patriotism amongst the masses that came as natural as breathing, as our nation launched into a long and bloody conflict fought on two oceans and several continents, lasting over four years and costing over 400,000 American lives. My most formative years, five to ten years old, were during World War II and would help shape my patriotism and my attitude toward my country for the rest of my life. After over eight decades of living, working, traveling and experiencing my nation’s mood swings, mistakes, and unfortunately, the division encouraged by self-serving politicians and radical organizations on the fringes of both the right and the left, that patriotism and love for America burns as brightly as ever. Even with our warts and blemishes, our deep, passionate, political differences, our petty prejudices and our disagreements about how to solve domestic and international problems, deep down, when our nation is threatened, there is an indomitable love of country in almost everyone. I believe that the American Dream is still alive. I live it every day, in a nation where opportunity abounds for those with the guts and tenacity to pursue it, where our leaders are chosen by votes, not guns, and you’re free to pursue your dream, no matter where it may lead. No other nation in the world can rival our diverse population, our monolithic beauty, our will to win. America the free, America the beautiful, America my home. God bless America, stand beside her and guide her.
Thanks to music legend Charlie Daniels for sharing that inspiring piece. For more of his musings, click on the text above which will link you to his web site “soap box.” Excellent! 🙂