Next Saturday is an important day. America turns 244 years old! Like any birthday, it’s a cause for celebration. There might be a few who disagree. But there’s never been a better time to remember why we should celebrate this extraordinary country’s existence.
So I choose to celebrate this birthday with no apologies.
I will celebrate our founding heroes — unbelievably courageous men and women who built this nation from the ground up. I will honor these people who stood up to oppressive governance, overcame hopeless odds, remained God fearing as they sought divine assistance, and came off victors. Then they drew up a governing Constitution and lived by it, as do we centuries later (with its timely amendments). I will celebrate what I believe to be divine intervention in the foundational establishment of this nation.
I will celebrate this country’s freedom to govern itself. A nation just six years away from commemorating its 250th birthday is doing something right.
I will celebrate the fact that, like most people in this country, I’m a product of the melting pot that created this nation’s citizenry. I will celebrate that my great-great-great-grandparents and their family left their England home for a place where they could worship freely. As new converts to a different religion, they were ostracized from the place of their centuries-old birthright. But America, with all her marvelous freedoms, beckoned. So they pooled meager resources, sailed to their new promised land and became legal citizens. Their progress was marked with extreme difficulty. Their patriarch and a young grandson died somewhere on the plains of Nebraska, but the rest pressed on to join others of a like mind in the West. They helped settle a northern Utah town, built up homes and posterity, and worshipped as they pleased because they lived in a nation where they finally had the freedom to do so.
I will celebrate that I live in a country where hard work is rewarded. When my husband graduated from college, we had $42 left in the bank, endless dreams, a hearty work ethic and strong shoulders. The pathway was never easy. But we met the obstacles, worked through them, grew closer and succeeded because we live in a country where we could do that.
I will celebrate that there is no other country on this earth where I would rather raise my children. Not only are their roots here, but they’re now trying out their wings. Lots of flights, a few failures. And now they have their own families and their own dreams to realize.
I will celebrate the myriad, unique freedoms we collectively enjoy. I will especially celebrate that I can vote in this country — a privilege taken too much for granted.
I will celebrate that I live in one of the most generous nations in the world to which other nations turn when they are in need. I will celebrate this nation’s willingness to valiantly stand next to other nations to fight for their freedoms through numerous wars throughout the centuries.
I will celebrate everyday heroes who share their lives, their work and their goodness.
I will celebrate a Pledge of Allegiance that stirs me now even as it did when I stood up at my small desk in grade school and proudly said it out loud every single morning.
I will proudly post my flag and celebrate the words of our national anthem, reveling again that it was penned by an eyewitness to one of this nation’s battles toward independence.
I will celebrate knowing that while a few of this nation’s citizens exercise their right to protest — with some of them engaging in illegal mayhem — the vast, quiet majority are people who know what is right, who do what is right and who stay that course no matter what.
In this unique year, we can’t gather for parades, picnics or firework shows for our Independence Day. But we are Americans. We know how to deal with challenges. So we will find a way to celebrate this mighty, magnificent country. Because we know that how we celebrate isn’t nearly as important as WHAT we celebrate. Happy birthday, USA!