My most favorite song to listen to on the 4th of July is Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”. It gives me goosebumps each and every time I hear it. After the events of 9/11, this song was played all over the country. We stood together as a nation and believed that we were all American brothers and sisters.
It’s strange. I am having a difficult time celebrating Independence Day now. I’ve had a hard time with it for the past few years. Seems that the brotherhood has faded away into the land that’s all about me, myself, and my beliefs – and they are the only things that count any more. Turns out that if someone doesn’t wear the flag on their lapel, they aren’t American. If their hands aren’t over their hearts, they don’t believe in what the flag stands for. If we don’t support the war, we apparently don’t support the troops. If we don’t dance in the streets and gloat on television over the death of Bin Laden, then we surely can’t be American. If we believe that ALL Americans should have equal rights, then that means we don’t support what the “founding fathers” built this country on. By writing this entry today, I know some people will mark me as Un-American even though the First Amendment says I have this right to speak.
I don’t know. I just don’t feel right about celebrating today. I am having a hard time celebrating Independence Day and what it stands for when:
- people still carry their flags down the street and ignore the homeless veteran under the bridge
- the first responders of 9/11 have to fight to keep their insurance
- children cannot get a strong public education because nobody wants to put money towards improving schools and teacher’s pay
- people are willing to fight for the rights for everyone, unless those rights infringe on their personal beliefs
- someone tells me that I can’t be a minister or a Christian when I stand beside folks like Frannie and Jennifer and say you have a right to be married
- children and women are being sold as slaves in underground sex trafficking and more of America’s money is going towards wars that were built on lies
- people stand to pledge this beautiful flag, saying “with liberty and justice for all” yet don’t really mean “for ALL”
- someone says they would rather have children in orphanages and the foster care system, rather than in the loving arms of two fathers
- children are starving and dying of AIDS and Malaria in third world countries and the richest nation that claims to be “under God” would rather spend the money on ourselves
- the NBA and the NFL are in lockouts over their billions of dollars, the Jersey Shore cast gets millions and we can’t seem to come together to help the homeless, the unemployed, and those who can’t speak for themselves
Happy 4th of July. May God bless the USA and all nations fighting for liberty and justice for each other.
(Photographer’s note: The photo with the backpack and American Flag was taken at a a peaceful Veterans Against War Rally in Boston.)