Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Forum: What Does The Fourth Of July Mean To You?

Every week on Monday, the Council, members of the Watcher's Council Community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: What Does The Fourth Of July Mean To You?

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : Growing up, every Fourth of July our family traveled and celebrated the holiday with a big family reunion which revolved around the Kutztown State Fair in Pennsylvania. The fair showcases Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish tradition, culture, foods, and crafts. My family goes back to the early 1700s and the first of my ancestors who arrived in the colonies fought in the Revolutionary War.

The Fourth of July fills me with wonder at the sacrifices of these early settlers who traveled from Germany to find a new life, not knowing exactly what they would find once they reached these shores. I am filled with pride knowing they were a part of this country’s founding. Their legacy of freedom lives on in me, and in my children and grandchildren.

We have been blessed with three grandchildren, and as I look into their eyes I see my posterity. It is because of them I am resolved to do whatever it takes to assure their future remains secure and that they will be able to live in a free America. To do nothing, to say nothing, to not teach them about their proud heritage and the history of the United States is unacceptable. I am reminded of the words of President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” It is up to us, parents and grandparents, to make sure our children understand our history, the history of humankind, civilization, and how our republic came to be. It begins with education, and this is where we must focus our attention.

GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD: 4 July 1776 fired off a crazy rocking rolling ride that hasn't stopped 'stirring things up' on a global scale.

Advancing arrogance into an art form with a remarkable relentless risque commitment to liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, and laissez-faire values.

America differs qualitatively from all other nations, because of her unique origins, nat'l credo, historical evolution, and distinctive political and religious institutions.

America is magically especial because she was a country of immigrants and the first modern democracy.

Loud, proud and rowdy - early America forecast future stuff with a provocative lingo that still fits today. "Don't Tread On Me!" "Liberty Or Death", "Live Free Or Die"

America's superiority of the American Experiment is reflected in the perception among Americans of America’s role in the world. That American foreign policy is based on moral principles is a consistent theme in the American hot diplopolititary gossip – a phenomenon recognized even by those who are skeptic of such an assessment.

This inclination to do right has been virtually unique among the nations of the world - and for this very reason - America has been totally misunderstood. How could a nation so rich, so successful actually, really be so unselfish and so caring?

Unconvincing (and either historically igno - or deceitfully dishonest - either term will do) critics cry America must have darker motives! America must be seeking imperium - to dominate everyone else, suck up all the oil, to trade and rob blind for America's selfish purposes.

People from more grasping, less idealistic societies find it nigh impossible to accept that America honestly believes that giving everyone opportunity is the real roadmap for abundance and happiness everywhere - not merely in the magical USA.

Americans honestly believe that securing other people's freedom is actually like the best guarantee that America can keep her own.

America does not want to dominate the world. Americans want to live in peace and hope other people will too.

America will go out into the world, redress errors, stop uncool unacceptable behavior, to first challenge, then annihilate threats to our liberty.

Creative destruction is America's middle name. It is her natural function, for she is the one truly revolutionary country in the world for more than 2 centuries.

She does it automatically, and that is precisely why creeps and tyrants hate her guts, and are driven to attack her. An enormous advantage, despots fear her, and oppressed peoples want what she offers: freedom.

Amazingly, some suspect states, illegit leaders and some people have not yet comprehended that America's primary intention is to preserve and keep our own land and liberty and all it's prosperity and that America will do anything and go anywhere to make it happen.

America built the modern world.

And She knows her way around.

Joyeuex Anniversarie America!

Stately McDaniel Manor:  As we plan our Independence day activities, thinking back on the intentions and sacrifices of those who gave us liberty is surely worthy of a few minutes of our time.  We tend to think of Ben Franklin’s aphorism as merely one of a great many bits of wit he coined, many published in Poor Richard’s Almanacs, for Franklin made his fortune as a printer, only one of the innumerable talents of this renaissance man.  But this brief saying is much more than that, for it expresses an essential truth known to all of the Founders: if they lost, they were dead.  Perhaps even their families were dead, and all of their property would be forfeit to the Crown.  For them, it truly was liberty or death.

With this in mind, the final sentence of the Declaration of Independence takes on new significance.  The Founders—among their number were a significant number of renaissance men—did, in fact, pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and above all, their sacred honor.  If they could not trust each other, not only to keep their word, but to stay the course no matter the sacrifice, to fight to their last breath to secure freedom, not only for themselves but for the future, for an America they hoped and trusted would be worthy of their sacrifice, they surely would have hung separately.  But they were men of integrity, men of honor, and they established the greatest people and the greatest nation in history, a nation not of takers and conquerors but of builders, thinkers, humanitarians and warriors for liberty.  Americans have liberated untold millions and asked no more than the space necessary to bury those that fell in the fight.

About a century later, men of integrity, honor and courage would be needed again.  Consider Gettysburg, where between July 1-3, 1863, more than 51,000 Americans were counted missing, wounded or dead.  On November 19, 1863, a ceremony to dedicate the cemetery was held at Gettysburg.  Edward Everett, then considered one of America’s greatest public speakers, delivered the main address.  He spoke for more than two hours.  Few remember his name; fewer remember his remarks.

 Abraham Lincoln was invited to speak as a formality, as a matter of decorum.  It was fitting that the nation’s chief executive say a few words to dedicate the cemetery, but no one expected him to equal, let alone surpass Everett.  Lincoln spoke for only two minutes and many initially thought his speech a failure.  Its greatness was not immediately apparent, yet those two minutes, those few words, will be read, spoken, and will inspire as long as liberty lives in the hearts and minds of free men and women.

 By all of the failings and frailties the Founders knew human beings fall prey, we have strayed from the path, and our government is no longer of the people, by the people and for the people.  We see offices once held by men of honor occupied by petty and dishonest men and women, people who lie, steal, take the fifth, squander the public’s money and trust, people who know no cause but imposing their self-imagined superior morality and intellect on those they arrogantly and dishonorably think too unsophisticated to recognize their mean estate, and who recognize no good but their own glorification.  Despite millennia of history’s lessons, they believe their version of socialist utopia will work this time because they and they alone are special, able to transform human nature and reality by the force of their personalities and brilliance.  We watch the man occupying the office held and honored by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln denigrate America, Americans, and our allies and shaking the foundations of liberty, actually saving and rewarding tyrannies sworn to our destruction.

 So this July 4th, as our elected representatives consider whether American citizenship has any value, or whether it may be won by simply crossing an undefended border, as the enemies of modernity, civilization and liberty plot and crucify children, behead, rape and torture, and as the fundamentally dishonorable and destructive forces that would “fundamentally transform” America and Americans into something far less vital, honorable and free believe they have regulated freedom into retreat, take a moment to remember the words of Franklin, Jefferson and Lincoln.  Take a moment to remember all those Americans that gave that last, full measure of devotion that we might enjoy not only the material, technological comforts American liberty has provided in such abundance, but that we too might recognize the call and duties of honor, and that we might, in this time of attack from within and without, in this time of potential final darkness, pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

It’s our time; it’s our turn. May we teach our children well.  Dear God, grant that we may not have to take up arms to recover our own nation, but if that be necessary, grant that we will answer the eternal call, and that we may be worthy of the sacrifices of those who came before us that have given us so much.May our children be the inheritors of a free, prosperous and generous America; may they too know that the tree of liberty must, from time to time, be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants, and may they one day speak well of us rather than curse us for our apathy and cowardice.

JoshuaPundit:  I admit to enjoying  the Fourth. I live in a fairly Red part of a terminally Blue state  (not that it means much since we were redistricted to become part of a solid Democrat district) and things are rather old fashioned here, complete with flags posted all over, a parade, and even banners on the main boulevard honoring all the young men and women from the area by name, rank and branch of service who are serving in our military. There are a fair amount of those banners in my little corner of the universe.

There are a lot of stories in the news today about how America is falling apart; a Gallup poll that shows only 52% of Americans are ‘extremely proud’ to be Americans (although the breakdown by party and demographics is interesting) lots of stories of flag burning and desecration, even a column by some melon head in the New York Daily News ranting about banning the playing of America the Beautiful at baseball games during the Seventh Inning Stretch 'a song that offends everybody.'

A lot of this stuff is more intensified than it seems, because the man who's in the White House supports and encourages it at every turn, because our poisonous media culture amplifies it and because of our educational system now promotes it, especially at the university level. But historically, America has always had its share of malcontents. Even during the revolution,  many Americans stayed loyal to the crown and even fought on the British side as Tories. I wouldn't deny that there's a great deal of that sentiment especially in certain parts of the country and among many of the new 'refugees,' illegal migrants,and even many new citizens whom are now no longer required to defend the United States if called upon to do so,something that was part of the citizenship oath for years.

It remains to be seen how prevalent and widespread this virus actually is,but at present, I think that at the core, most Americans remain patriotic, even though many of the traditional institutions that formed the core of that patriotism ans America's culture  are under attack.

It bears remembering in times like these that when our Founders chose the motto for our new Country, it was 'In G-d We Trust.' Certainly I believe He has intervened for America before in dark times.

 I think of the Fourth itself as kind of one of our American tribal rites, and it's too bad more people don't appreciate it. If they don't, well,  it's their problem, and I'm not letting them spoil it for me.

If a little kid or a new immigrant were to ask me what it's all about, I'd tell him it was America's birthday party, and birthday parties are supposed to be fun. I'd tell them it's when we celebrate the guys who decided to take a bet on freedom, put everything on the table,beat the odds and won.

So may it continue to be.

The Glittering Eye: I was going to subject you to a lecture on the meaning of the Fourth of July.  Perhaps another time.

Instead I'll share some of my fondest memories of Fourths of Julys past.

I remember watching fireworks shot over the Meramec River from Aunt Margaret and Uncle George's house on stilts down on the river. I remember fireworks displays in the Valley Park village square.

I remember enduring 90% humidity and 105 degree temperature with a million (not an exaggeration) other people under the St. Louis Arch 40 years ago on the Bicentennial Fourth of July.

I remember watching the fireworks going off at eye level from our friends' 16th floor condo in Marina Towers on the marina.

Perhaps my fondest Fourth of July memory is of sharing a Fourth of July in a small town in rural Illinois. Veterans parading. Fireworks in the town square. Speeches by local politicians. A perfect Fourth of July of classic Americana. It was like taking a time machine and experiencing a shared understanding we're in danger of losing.

Well, there you have it.

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