On this day when we take to the bar-b-q’s, pools, and firework displays of our backyards and neighborhoods to celebrate the Declaration of Independence, it’s worth thinking about what this holiday means. Is it about the symbols of flags, fireworks, and red white and blue bunting? Or is it about the idea of America? Is it about the borders or our land, or the promise of our ideals?
On this day when thousands of children who have been taken from their parents are suffering in internment camps within our borders how strong are those ideals?
On this day when families who wish to come be a part of the great experiment which is our democracy are forcibly separated, where does that experiment stand?
On this day when we can put the revenue from weapons sales over the lives of our journalists, the strength of our democratic institutions and the values for which our service members gave their lives, where do we place the value on those lives?
On this day when my eight year old son tells me he thinks America is the greatest country in the world because he believes in the Idea of U.S., what do I tell him?
I’ll tell you what I tell him. America is made up of many wonderful people: Nurses, Social Workers, Journalists, Teachers, Artists, Inventors, hard workers, the healthy, the ill, the rich and poor, from all over the world all striving to realize Freedom. This idea of Freedom is why so many choose to come here. It’s why we’re stronger every day more diversity shares in this great experiment. It’s the reason we’re celebrating today. Not because of the country we are at the moment, but because of who we can be when we use our values as our guide. The America we celebrate today is an idea; perhaps an ideal. It’s the America we want to be. The America my son and daughter, I in what time I have left, my wife, our family, our community, and our nation builds together.
I’m doggedly proud to be an American. I’m proud to celebrate the Idea of U.S. May we all remember the values for which we stand, and build them into a reality in which we all may live.
May the lessons of history compel the world toward Peace!