July 4th. Independence Day in the United States of America; the more it changes, the more it stays the same. Our prosperity, armory diplomacy, generosity and faith in democracy are on display around the world as it has been for a hundred plus years. Iraq has stabilized, but Afghanistan’s kettle still boils; every week the newspaper prints the names of soldiers who have given their lives. Sacrifice…all in the name of freedom.
The span of countries owing the United States, in part, for the independence they enjoy today covers the globe. From the Philippines to Western Europe, to China and South Korea. History also includes the present day citizens of Russia, Japan and Germany who were freed from oppressive regimes. Canada and Mexico live under the shade of our military might.
We, as a nation, seem to be stewing in discontent, recession, terrorist threats, sadistic reality shows, the unending pessimism of the news media and the gloom emanating from Washington, D.C. But underneath the oil fire sitting on top of this American Sea, the majority of us…the 90 percent who didn’t lose our homes or jobs…are busy taking care of ourselves, our neighbors, our friends and our relatives who did take a hit.
Farmers are still going into the field to insure nobody goes hungry. Teachers, public servant bureaucrats, mechanics, bus drivers, handymen, policemen, firemen, hospital workers, plumbers and airline pilots show up to work every day ready to carry their share of the load…and more.
The strength of any country’s productiveness lies in the character, work ethic and compassion of each individual. In countries where individual effort is discouraged, personal responsibility is diminished, and faith in God is disregarded, the incentive to overcome adversity disappears. Countries like that offer the security of a subsistence socialism in trade for the Promise of Hope.
July 4th we celebrate this Promise of Hope. We draw on our historic patriotic roots and our deep American values brought us to this day, through harsh wars and hard times, from Valley Forge to 9-11.
Life is not supposed to be easy. It is supposed to be as good as you can make it. That is the Promise of Hope. It is what makes America great. It’s why immigrants flock to our shores and why we really ARE different. Of the people, by the people and for the people, under God, indivisible.
Put your hand over your heart, bring on the fireworks and hang out Ol’ Glory! It’s the 4th of July and we’re gonna act like it!
Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television and also through his books, cds, videos and website, www.baxterblack.com.