Red, white and blue party items and picnic supplies adorn shelves for the celebrations we plan to enjoy on Independence Day. The grill will be readied for cooking hotdogs or hamburgers while the kids anxiously await downing the sweetly iced cupcakes decorated with stars and sparkles. The American flag will be on display outside our homes, and most folks will enjoy a day off during a busy summer week. The Fourth of July has always been a joyous day of celebration; as it should be.
This past year America has seen its share of hatred and divisiveness among government leaders, political parties, and factions of every sort battling over guns, drugs, climate change, debt, immigration, healthcare, mental health, wars, as well as other significant issues. Our citizens have witnessed increases in deplorable acts of racism, anti-Semitism and bullying. It appears there are a plethora of nasty problems with complex solutions which we seem to be adept in arguing over or passing blame, but not capable of solving.
There is a tie that binds all of us which should bring us to the table in the center of the room to find agreeable resolutions. The tie is difficult to see in the middle of a heated debate or when partisan politics replaces common sense. The red, white, and blue ribbons that form the tie are almost invisible when vitriol or the need for power obstruct its view.
Long before 1776, immigrants crossed oceans to find hope in a new unknown world. They fled their ancestral homes to escape tyrannical leaders, poverty and religious persecution. They were unified in their belief that it was worth the risk to tread rough waters and endure enormous hardships to obtain freedom and a better life for their children.
In my foyer is a lamp made of antique brass topped with a hand cut crystal bowl. It has been passed down in my family because a mother of long ago brought it with her on the boat when she immigrated with her family to America in the early 1700s. The lamp is still in perfect condition today with nary a chip in its beautiful old globe. The women who have cared for and protected this rare antique through the years have done so to honor the courage and love of the mother who declared it of the utmost importance to save.
When the Revolutionary War began, many of us who call this land our home today have ancestors who fought, died or were imprisoned because they united in declaring their new world to be independent and free. They endured the battles and ravages of war because they understood their newfound liberty was of the utmost importance to save.
During World War I and II, men and women, rich or poor of all races, cultures, or religions joined to confront an enemy who wanted to destroy our rights, our freedoms, and our independence. We saved allied countries from the same enemy, we lost family on foreign shores, and we fought until we joyously claimed victory because our democracy was of the utmost importance to save.
Throughout our history, our citizens have marched and protested for change. From voter and civil rights to equality and justice, we did so to become a nation where all citizens could have the opportunity to thrive. When we worship, or cast a vote, or speak our minds, we must remember our inalienable rights are of the utmost importance to save.
As we watch exploding fireworks this holiday or see our children play under the summer sun, or wave our flags as a parade passes by, we must cherish these as reminders that we live in a free society where dreams, hope and happiness still resides.
Long ago, a woman crossed an ocean carrying a cherished lamp to light her way into the unknown. Her grave is somewhere in the Virginia hills while the old lamp continues to illuminate the lives of generations who carry her fearlessness and fortitude forward. All living Americans should honor those who showed us the way to maintain the light of freedom today.
It is in that spirit of conviction that we must unite to find agreeable solutions so the beam of liberty will continue to shine on this land for the sake of our children’s future.
The ribbons that bind us take precedence over our divide, our hate, our political alliances, and our personal preferences. When we place the flag in the center of the debate table along with our United States Constitution, it reminds us to collaborate to solve the problems we face because America, the tie that binds us all, is of the utmost importance to save.
July 4th has always been a joyous day of celebration for all Americans. Let’s join hands so it always will be.