Last week, my wife and I had to drive to Dowagiac, a small town in Southwest rural Michigan, to get plates for a car. We’ve done the forty minute drive before and I always find it relaxing as we go through fields and small towns.
As we passed through Eau Claire, I was so impressed by all the American Flags on every lamp post on the main street. In addition to the flags, there are a number of war memorials for the Civil War, and the first and second World Wars. I don’t think I saw any revolutionary war memorials but they may well be present in one of the towns along the way.
What strikes me is how we forgot what it took to become the country that we are. I can’t help but think of the observation by the writer and philosopher George Santayana “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” We can’t forget our past, change our past or sugar coat our past. It is what it is and made us who we are. I have no doubt there are errors and omissions but as schools stopped teaching history, a lot of people are going down a dangerous path of self-righteousness that can justify almost any action no matter how it has been proven destructive over and over.
So with this in mind, I jotted down the following:
Go down the streets of small town America and you see the flags, you see the monuments to the war dead dating back to the Civil War … these people paid the price. For generations these people fought and died for our country, for their families, for their neighbors – they paid the price for our freedom, not politicians.
These folk work hard, play hard, and value family and life. When we talk about America, we need to remember who built it. It is not a place. It is not a thing. It is a people.
In closing, let’s remember more than just fireworks and barbecues this Forth of July. What are we celebrating? Our independence and the birth of our country.
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The flag photo at the top of the blog post is the copyright of Joshua Nathanson. The flag in the meme is by HARRIS.news (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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