Lee Greenwood’s anthem, “I’m Proud to be an American” recently made the rounds of Facebook and YouTube in commemoration of July 4th. Every time I hear it my heart swells with pride and gratitude for the blessings God has given to this country. Past 4th of July celebrations swirl in my mind—picnics, fireworks, patriotic songs, chasing fireflies, and flags everywhere. Happy memories of a time past.
A new normal?
This 4th was more subdued—no family, no fireworks, and the threat of a disease no one seems to fathom. The televised onslaught of mobs defacing and tearing down statues, rioting, blocking roads, and screaming epithets at anyone who disagreed with them brought tears to my eyes. Such a contrast to carefree outings with families, children with sparklers signing their names, and the tasty food. Many Americans, like my husband and I, felt appalled at the unchecked violence and hatred. We love this country, not because it is perfect, but because our system of government is flexible enough to remedy societal ills without violence. Americans used to be able to disagree with each other without retaliation.
Christ gave His assessment of the churches in Asia to John, one of His disciples. The first church, Ephesus, had started out well, but had forgotten her first love, the things she did at first. Christ told this church to remember her past and repent. America too needs to remember who she was. She was a light shining on a hill, a beacon to the downtrodden, and a place where freedom was not just a longing, but a fact. Blood, sweat, and tears of all races secured America. She became a great nation because her people understood sacrifice and hard work. Americans took risks, showed courage in expanding her borders to the west coast, and did not expect instant reward.
Some Americans seem to have forgotten their past and the grit that made this country great. They demand respect but do nothing to earn it. Many are moving toward a hybrid socialism/Marxism that supplies everything but opportunity unless you are one of the elite hierarchy or race du jour. America has always been diverse, having welcomed people from all nations and cultures. However, America cannot stand if her diversity becomes an obstacle to the freedom of every individual.
History is the story of people whose desires, emotions, and aspirations are no different than ages past. To ignore our history is to wipe out the accomplishments, and yes, sometimes mistakes, to our own detriment. A people who do not know who they are turn out to be a people despoiled. Eventually, a benevolent despot or a tyrant must bring about order. History records events without commentary. It is up to us to learn from history, not destroy it.
If we genuinely believe that God loves all nations, nationalities, races, and creeds enough to provide a way of salvation, then we must work together with Him to return our nation to a place God can bless again. Unity is essential for a free and productive society—loving our neighbor is the first step to making America great again.