Happy Birthday to the Land That I Love

Tomorrow, July 4, is the birthday of the United States. In 1776, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence that created this land that I love. This land of freedoms, of opportunities, and of care and compassion. Happy 242nd to you America!

I am thankful that they created our government with three equal but separate branches, instead of a monarchy which they came from. Those branches, as I learned in 9th grade Civics, are the legislative, executive, and judicial. My wish is that today our leaders in these branches would work together instead of constantly fighting and being mean to each other.

I hope and pray that we will continue to be a land of care and compassion, a land where anything is possible, a land where we help one another, and a land where we learn from each other’s differences. Sadly I am seeing more hate, division, mistrust, and no willingness to listen to each other.

That has to stop. We have to find a way to listen to one another, to learn from each other, and to be caring and help take care of each other. We have to do better for ourselves and for our children who look to us for guidance on how to treat others and navigate their world.

When President Reagan was in office, he had many heated discussions with senators and congressman, such as House Speaker Tip O’Neill. They went at it and spoke emphatically and strongly on their side, but they didn’t throw mud or call each other stupid or unwilling to work. They instead found compromises and worked for the betterment of the entire country.

Can we do that now? I believe we can. We just have to stop the rhetoric, the incitement of violence, and the hate. On both sides of every issue, we must do better. We must learn to love again and treat one another with kindness. We also must listen to each other, whether we agree or not. How else will we figure out our problems?

Our land is amazing and full of so many gifts and freedoms that many people in the world do not know. We can speak freely, we can worship as we choose, we can protect ourselves and our families, we can have a fair and speedy trial, and we can vote.

These are just some of the rights that we have as Americans. May we remember how precious they are, may we not take them for granted, may we protect them without hate and malice towards others, and may we remember we are all in this together.

A few quotes about the Declaration of Independence and Independence Day:

  • “It is very inspiring, my friends, to come to this that may be called the original fountain of independence and liberty in America and here drink draughts of patriotic feeling which seem to renew the very blood in one’s veins.” ~ President Woodrow Wilson
  • “Liberty is the breath of life to nations.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • “The Declaration of Independence! The interest which in that paper has survived the occasion upon which it was issued; the interest which is of every age and every clime; the interest which quickens with the lapse of years, spreads as it grows old, and brightens as it recedes, is in the principles which it proclaims.” ~ John Quincy Adams
  • “From every mountain side,  Let Freedom ring.” ~ Samuel F. Smith
  • “Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • God Bless America
    Land that I love
    Stand beside her
    And guide her
    Through the night with the light from above
    From the mountains
    To the prairies
    To the oceans
    White with foam
    God bless America
    My home sweet home
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Happy July 4th!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I remember learning this in school — the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. This document helped create our nation. Today we celebrate America’s birthday – July 4, 1776.  Happy Birthday USA!

So what does it mean to have the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Have you thought about these? I have some but not a lot. Often times we take our freedoms for granted.  I hope that we remember how special America is.  How unique America is and how amazing it is.

I don’t want to take for granted that men and women throughout our nation’s history have fought and died for our freedoms. These are listed in the U.S. Constitution.  Our nation’s birth and beginning is listed in the Declaration of Independence.  May we learn these, learn how our nation works, have a say in it, and never ever take it for granted.

Now for a few thoughts on this statement at the beginning of the blog.

What does all men are created equal mean to you?  To me, it means all of us have opportunities to do what we want.  It should not matter how much money we have, what our job is, what we look like, what religion we are, or who we love.

We are all valuable and amazing people. We are all worth knowing and worth loving. We are all worth learning from and contributing to the greater good.  May we remember that and remember to be kind rather than spewing hate and rhetoric against those who are different.  May we practice love, compassion, caring, and empathy to each other and learn about our differences.

For me the right of life is to have good health and feel good, a safe place to live with clean water, shelter, heating in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, enough food to eat, and quality and affordable health care for when we get sick.

I want all children to have enough to eat and all families to be able to provide this for their kids. I want us to be able to have chemo treatments if needed without the fear of going bankrupt. I want us to have our indoor plumbing and running water. I so appreciate and treasure these things.

The right of liberty is one that I think makes America very special.  We are free to believe what we want, to do as we want, to travel from state to state, to work, to play, to be with our families, and to say and speak what we want.

As you know, I am a supporter of the 1st Amendment.  I am in favor of a free media, the right of religious freedom, and to have our citizens believe and think how they see fit.  What I don’t like is hate, calling others fake, lying, or criticizing others who don’t agree with us.  I pray that we can find a way to respect others and learn from them.

The pursuit of happiness is perhaps a little harder to explain.  Since being happy is different for all of us, there are many definitions for this.  The fact that we can pursue our bliss and what makes us tick and motivates each day is pretty incredible.

Interesting that the founding fathers didn’t say the right of happiness itself but to pursue it.  I think they were encouraging all of us to strive for the best, be all that we can be, and  determine what means the most to us and go after it.  We should want to do better for our families, our friends, our children, and provide them with the best.

If this means having to reach out and help one another, I think that we should.  I think we should lift one another up, instead of tearing each other down.  I think we should be there for one another for the bad times and the good as well.

What do you think?  I would love to hear from you on your interpretation of the Declaration of Independence.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Freedom
  • The heroes who gave us our freedoms
  • Great food with family
  • Watching our son swimming
  • Laughter with family and friends
  • Prayers before a meal
  • Our church
  • Our community
  • Ian’s school
  • My family and friends
  • The love of writing and the media
  • Hugs from loved ones

I hope that you have a wonderful Independence Day!  Happy Fourth of July.  May you enjoy it and remember those who gave a day such as this to us.  I plan to do the same.

Independence Day

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” July 4, 1776

Aren’t these words great?  I certainly think so.   These amazing words are from the Declaration of Independence.  Some of the men who signed it were John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.

Today, many Americans will celebrate with cookouts, trips to the pool or beach, parades, time with family, patriotic music, and fireworks.  It is a fun day with family and friends and great to celebrate the birth of the United States.

In celebration of this land with freedoms unlike many other places, I am reminded to thank those who have made it possible:

  • Thanks to all of the Veterans who have fought in wars for our freedom and country’s protection
  • Thanks to the active servicemen and women who continue to fight for our freedom
  • Thanks to our reservists who are willing to go when duty calls
  • Thanks to the families of our military and all that they sacrifice
  • Thanks to the many who have been seriously injured or died in protection of our country
  • Thanks to the POWs who suffered more than I can imagine in protection of our freedoms
  • Thanks to all who sign up to serve and continue to protect this amazing nation

As the quotes goes, freedom is never free.  The brave men and women of our military and their families know that is true.

FlagsA few quotes about Independence Day:

  • “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”  ~Elmer Davis
  • “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.” ~Louis D. Brandeis
  • “If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.” ~Hamilton Fish
  • “I love my freedom. I love my America.” ~Jessi Lane Adams
  • “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’ll gladly stand up next to you to defend her still today. Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God Bless the USA.”  ~Lee Greenwood

May you have a blessed day celebrating our freedom!!!