Monday, July 04, 2005
229 Years and Counting
** This post was written on and for July 4, 2005. However, I accidentally posted it twice to my personal blog, instead of once on each blog. Perhaps I got too much sun at the town parade.
Today we will celebrate the "birthday" of our great nation. We'll see parades. We'll eat burgers and hot dogs at barbecues. We'll enjoy the company of friends and relatives. We'll watch fireworks exploding over our cities.
229 years ago, 50 some odd men pledged everything they had to the great cause of creating a nation, as Lincoln would say many years later, "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
All too often we take this for granted. We take for granted the blood that has been shed on our behalf. The sacrifices made by earlier generations over the course of the last 200+ years. The freedoms that we have, which are still not enjoyed by all too many on this earth.
My ancestors came to this great nation about 102 years ago. I know very little about their decision to come here. I'm sure they came hoping for a better life for themselves, and a better future for their children. I'm sure there was much uncertainty about their decision. They crossed an ocean, they left behind all that they knew, and began a new life, in a new world. My great grandparents settled in Camden, New Jersey, near Philadelphia, PA.
They were looked down upon. They were discriminated against. They had to work, and they had to work hard. Their children learned to speak English, as that was the only way they would survive in the New World. As my father was raised, his parents insisted he not even learn to speak their "native" tongue. He was an American, and Americans speak English, he was told. If you spoke another language, even in addition to English, you were looked down upon.
In just over 100 years, the family has grown and spread. Each generation has become more successful and prosperous than the previous.
I look at the sacrifices made by my ancestors, and I look ahead to the future. I hope to live my life in such a way that they would be proud of my accomplishments, and approve of what I have done with the opportunities they have afforded me through their sacrifice and hard work.
I look at my children, and am grateful that they could be born in a great nation such as the United States of America. They will see and do things of which my generation can now only dream.
So on this 4th of July, as I do every year, I thank those who pledged their "Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor," and those who continue to defend the cause of liberty throughout the world on my behalf.
A more worthy cause one will seldom find.