Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 4th !!!!!!

Patriotism, cheapened by political attacks and misunderstood by definition, has almost become an epithet in current public usage. In reading the words of the founders of this nation, one is imbued not so much with the word, but rather, a persistent state of mind which prevailed in their assemblies two hundred thirty three years ago. Their Declaration is rife with references to the Author of Liberty for guiding their actions and from Whom they sought further direction in the furtherance of their cause.

We find in the final sentence a commitment easily seen by each signatory: “—And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.” These are words which these patriots well understood and accepted. They clearly realized the risks and the potential loss incumbent in their actions. To understand their sacrifice is to understand our country at the offset and treasure their commitment for our future.

God has favored me with the opportunity for familiarity with each individual state. I have lived in twenty and traveled to each of the others on business and personal pursuit. For this I give thanks to God for the opportunity to acquire an appreciation of each and every one. We are an exceptional people and live in an exceptional land. One doesn’t need to leave the neighborhood to appreciate this, but doing so underlines the thought with personal experiences and memories of each sovereign unit.

As a result, I have developed a deep and abiding love for our country and our people. I have come to enjoy their eccentricities and not scoff at their speech. I have learned to appreciate their landscapes even when deprived of mountain vistas and gorgeous coastal reaches. I can now anticipate tasting local dishes with relish, whether in a posh restaurant or at Mom’s diner. I enjoy that some friends I have made nationwide, and live in bib overalls daily, could “buy and sell” others who wear $1000 suits. I take comfort in the commonality of motherly protective attitudes where ever I go. I rejoice in the children in each locale whose shrieks and laughter are the same everywhere. One easily observes the dedication of those who serve the public for protection (health, fire, police, etc.) in a unanimous effort to preserve their fellow citizens. To me, these are they who are today’s patriots. These are the ones who make my heart swell with pride in the fellowship of citizenship.

Years ago (over forty) I lived as neighbor to a humble family on a farm in Northwest Missouri. As a manufacturer’s representative, I traveled eight Midwestern states and was required to dress well and drive a serviceable automobile. I also farmed a hundred ten acre patch with questionable success. One morning after I took delivery on a new Buick, a teenage member of the mentioned family approached me, commented favorably on the car and remarked that she wished her Dad had the abilities to drive and dress as well as I. I’m afraid I lost it. Her father, although he could not write, handled mathematics in his head as well as any man I ever knew. His dedication to his family was unflagging. He worked nights in town and farmed during the day to provide their every need. We traded hay and livestock without any documentation or contract. He was, in a nutshell, a man of incomparable integrity and high character. When I informed his daughter that he was a man I held in the highest esteem she had difficulty understanding my admiration. This man has always typified for me, basic goodness, character, and those attributes which represent a true American. My prayer is that she saw her father in a new found view.

We are a nation of men and women who individually possess great character much the same as my former neighbor. They have an absolute love of their “father” land and support its intentions and goals. They are also the ones who lie beneath the endless rows of grave markers at our national cemeteries. Often their unsophisticated expression of that love is to place the stars and stripes on graves, porches, poles, lapels, rear car windows, lamp posts, altars, desks, and anywhere else the politically correct crowd will allow. They do not well understand the motives of those who denigrate the display of our national emblem. My heartfelt desire is that they will never understand. To fail to appreciate the symbolism inherent in the flag is to fail to understand history and the devotion to protect the nation. It has nothing to do with cloth, colors and brass grommets. Through the thirteen stripes it acknowledges the history of our beginnings and through the fifty state stars it recognizes our current place. To many, it is synonymous with America.

Patriotism is not as complicated as some would lead us to believe. Those of us who genuinely love our country and unashamedly admit it are not in the minority. We can shamelessly shed a tear for those who have gone before to provide the liberty we so enjoy. We can easily understand the significance of handing a triangulated folded flag to a survivor of a veteran “on behalf of a grateful nation.” We are still allowed to get a lump in our throat as our national anthem declares “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Symbolism, yes, but symbolism in acknowledgement of the realities of our country’s foundation; one predicated on God given rights. Our Constitution simply enumerates those rights which are God given. That which God has provided should neither be abused nor withdrawn but continue to exemplify the greatest nation in the history of the world, the United States of America.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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