Today I got me a flag at WalMart and have it hanging outside. We’re the only house in our subdivisoon I’ve seen displaying a flag this weekend, which is kind of sad. But it made me feel good, and reminded me of bright, hot sunny days walking around Rockport, MA or driving down to Newport on RI 114 through the towns of Warwick and Bristol, and seeing all those colonial towns and houses displaying American flags.
It’s hard to describe the pride I feel for this country. Look, I know we have quite the checkered history when it comes our dealings with Native Americans, or African-Americans and slavery, or the way we have dealt with people of other nations, like in the Philippines in the early 1900s or the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s. All of that has been well documented, and it’s certainly nothing I as an American can or should be proud of. And were that the only side of the equation, then there should be nothing to stop God from turning this nation into a hot smoldering pile of goo.
But it’s not.
America has had, has, and always will have, its detractors. I’m ashamed to say there’s one occupying the White House right now. But the fact is, this nation has a always had an innate ability at self-correction, even to the point where hunderds of thousands of its own flesh and blood shedding their own to correct a wrong that needed to be righted. And maybe sometimes we spend too much talking about the things that need to be corrected instead of just going ahead and fixing them right then and there. But that’s democracy, and in a Republic like ours, sometimes change takes time. But it does take place. One only need to, for example, consider some of the attitudes and behaviors of our elected leaders just a centrury ago; it’s hard to imagine those sentiments being supported today.
You can’t say the same thing about places elsewhere in the world like Russia, China, the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, or any other number of places where people have been fighting the same damned battles, prejudices, and cultural conflicts they’ve been doing for hundreds of years.
The Founding Fathers in all their God-inspired wisdom created a framework that not only recognized America’s capacity for greatness, but also for misusing and abusing the freedom we have all been endowed with by our Creator; hence, we’ve always been able to work out our weaknesses as a nation and as human beings over the course of time. And through our innate thirst for freedom and all that entails, we have been far more generous in terms of our willingness to give our blood on behalf of freedom, sometimes in far away places, than any other nation since the beginning of time.
America isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s the best damned place anyone could ever dream of living. And my prayer this day is one of thanksgiving – not just for being privileged enough to have been born and live here, but for those who, sometimes willingly, sometimes not, gave their lives for others in the hope that in doing so they might further the cause of liberty and freedom in a world where such qualities are rarely found.
May God bless their souls, and the United States of America.