I admit that over time, my patriotism seems to fade. Everywhere you look, questions about this great country abound. You have bipartisan bickering, scandals involving the NSA, questionable leniency over immigration, and foreign policy that comes under fire from the rest of the world. That’s why it was so refreshing to be in Colonial Williamsburg for the 4th of July. We went for the kids and ended up getting more out of it than they did.
One tour guide started tearing up at the retelling of the Declaration of Independence signing. For us to become the United States of America, a group of patriots had to break away from British rule and lay out exactly why it was justified. While it was a dangerous move, it was one that drove us to freedom from England and the democratic process we now enjoy. I didn’t suffer through dysentery, malaria, famine or Indian attacks, but I fully appreciate those who were able to battle through the harsh conditions of the early settlements to shape the America we know.
We live in comfort, in part because our forefathers lived through hell to make this a free land. We play on our computers, watch 1,000 channels on TV and listen to independent radio stations while others in this world have internet sites blocked, are forced to watch state TV channels and have airwaves that are filled with the broadcasts of propaganda.
We take freedom for granted. We expect to be unencumbered in life. We expect to be able to control our destinies. We also believe that all other people enjoy these same freedoms. They don’t.
I don’t know if it was the atmosphere or the prodding of people in period clothing, but as I sat under the Williamsburg darkness listening to the Pops Orchestra warm up the crowd for fireworks, my chest beat with pride at the playing of a medley of the Armed Forces anthems. As violins melodically played “From the Halls of Montezuma,” my smile grew with each note. We have not always been angels, but our Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have protected this great land through thick or thin.
It is said that all great dynasties fall over time. I’m not ignorant enough to think that America as a power will continue for eternity, but if there ever is a land that can succeed, it is this one.
Reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to high-five Lee Greenwood.