July 4, 2007

To me, the 4th of July recalls heading to the beach, all the fullness of a New England mid-summer weighing in the shade trees that line the highways and the roads on your way up there. It’s a cold beer with burgers and ‘dogs on the grill. It’s feeling a chilly ocean wash between your feet as you stand on the precipice of the big blue. It also reminds me of hordes of angry mosquitoes attacking me from all angles, which is why I never much got into attending fireworks shows…

And it also reminds me of all that once was great and noble about this nation – something, I’m afraid, we’ve lost in the last 50 years, primarily as a result of my generation – the so-called “baby boomers”, who were given every possible spoil and opportunity like no generation before it had. And what have we done with it? Acted like a bunch of teenagers left alone by their parents for a weekend with cases of beer in the cellar. Multiculturalism. Diversity. Tolerance. Fairness. All in spades, to the nth degree so that nothing means anything anymore. All that bullshit now run amok and resulting in a culture awash in crudeness, mass consumerism, greed, and exploitation. If this country ever faced a true crisis – and I’m not talking about the gas lines of 1973, or stores running out of Cabbage Patch dolls three weeks before Christmas, my generation and those that have followed wouldn’t know what the hell to do. Well, they would, they’d ask for “the government” to come to their rescue. Yeah, that’ll work.

I prefer to remember on this day the generations that went to war in the nineteenth century over big and grand ideas – the issue of slavery, or the role of government, or what it meant to be a part of the United States or what (or who) an “American” was. The loss of life and suffering in the Civil was horrendous, but the ideas for which it was fought, and the sacrifices made by those who fought it, were as grand as the results of it all were bloody. The Civil War remains, and will always be, the defining moment in the nation’s history – that is, until Hillary Clinton is elected President – and it is the speech by President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the Gettyburg National Cemetary in November of 1863 that truly reminds me of everything this 4th of July should be about:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Happy 4th everyone. May God bless the United States of America.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 09:33 | Comments (0)
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