My country tis of thee sweet land of liberty of thee I sing , land were my fathers died, land of the pilgrims pride, from every mountain side let freedom ring!… where are the writers of such words today? Where are the Samuel F. Smiths’ of the past? Where are they in this new century? Why is it that the greatest songs of America, the ones that make you well up with pride every time you hear them have all been written in the late eighteenth and through out the nineteenth century? Okay so the music for My country ‘tis of thee is from God save the King/Queen. But after all we were predominately from Great Britain when it was written. We were not to far away from our fight with them for our independence as well, it was only natural that we would borrow some things from them still.
Where do you find the John Philip Sousas’ the Glenn Millers’ with the patriotic marches of yesteryear? Beats me I just ask the questions, you want me to answer them too? Okay maybe I can give you some, maybe just maybe people take this country for granted. Maybe they feel that there is nothing so great about this country… what are you kidding me? If we are so awful and we are, so bad why is it that people from all over the world still want to come here? Why is it that every year somewhere in the world a young man or woman begins the paper work to come here? They toss every cent they can scrape together and save it in the hopes that they will some day walk off the plane and step foot in this country. Why, if we are supposed to be the root of all that is bad in the world do they sneak in, spending days and sometimes weeks risking their lives just to be here in this country? You tell me why?
There are those that live here all their lives and yet think that this country is bad, that its people are no good. They have been taught in our own schools how we are the cause of all that is wrong in this world. This country that pointed the way to democracy around the world when we declared our independence from England so many years ago. Because we stood out in front of the world and said hey ‘I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more.’ My Nephew once told me that he had problems with the military yet he could not tell me why at the time. He was only to able to tell me that it was because it was what he had learned from his teachers. That was his reasoning, I could have accepted many that may have come from his own thoughts but because of his teachers? I shook my head in disbelief yet knowing that it was the way of the education system today and I felt a little bit let down and discouraged. It all just kind of makes me wonder what else he learned from these teachers of his. I would not doubt that it was democracy that is the cause of everything bad in the world. Maybe they are right, if it were not for democracy we and every other country in the world that follows even the most remote theory of democracy would not know what it is like to have freedoms. And that my dear friends is what Veteran have helped us get and retain for 234 years.
War what is it good for? A question best answered by a look at history. War has brought pestilence, famine, systematic annihilation of people, heartache, death, disease, destruction, dismemberment, enslavement, over barring dictators and a few other things that that I cannot think of at this time. Nevertheless, the question was what is it good for? War has also brought freedom to millions of people around the world. Freedom is one of those words that some might call an oxy moron because freedom is not free. Freedom is also not free to keep, as many times we still need to pay for freedom. Freedom is only freedom… to live where you want, to worship as you wish, to work at what you want, to travel about as you wish, to stand at the top of mountain or the bottom of a valley and say I am free. There are many in this world that cannot stand in front of their government offices and yell words of discontent. They are not be allowed to walk the streets calling to their leader using words of hate. What is war good for, it can bring FREEDOM. It can bring new hope for a country, and it can create a new country, so many good things as well as the bad yes that is what war is good for.
Today is the day we turn to those brave men and women that have fought for our freedoms and thank them. It is for the living service men and women that have been through the doors of hell and returned to see the fruits of their sacrifice and in them we celebrate this day. They have come back to their loved ones and in many cases been spit upon and called names. They have come back battered, bruised, and even maimed and yet they have come back proud of what they have paid for. They paid for our Freedom, they have paid to free others. They have paid the price so that we can all live in a better world.
I happened on a young man the other day while at work, he was, well is for now anyway a Security guard at one of the local Distribution centers for a regional store. The minute I met him I knew that he was not just a run of the mill 20 something that was a security guard. Of the distribution centers I go to this young man was unique and you could not miss it, unless of course you were looking the other way. The tone of his voice and the Sir that came out at the end of everything let you know just where this young man had come from. He was new to that center and it took just another second for him to tell me that his time there would be short. You see he had spent five and half years in the Air Force and after getting out, he decided he wanted back in. I was not sure how to take this, not that I thought he was wrong. I just was not sure if he was going back for the right reasons, well not that it mattered to me so much but I was concerned for him. I was hoping that it would not be for the money that they were offering him to get back in. I was a bit surprised when asked that he said he felt guilty for having left with some of his friends still in the service. After thinking on his answer, I had to admit it was a better reason that I almost had thought was going to come out especially after having agreed to an all politics aside answer. In a way it sounded to me as if he were feeling guilty for the fact that his friends and our soldiers were still in harms way and he was now checking vehicles in and out of a distribution center. While I do not think his self imposed guilt trip is the best reason for him to re enlist, it did give me a little satisfaction to think that there are still men and women in this country that are more than willing to enter our military and be there for the call to arms. A new sense of hope has filled my heart and mind for these men and women that serve today and for those that have served in the past for it is this day, this day of Veterans that we celebrate today.
This the day of armistice to end World War I was set aside to honor the veterans of wars fought and the veterans that served while there were no wars to fight. They all deserve this day and many more like them for their pride in country and pride in themselves. We all seem to forget the contributions made by the men and women of the military to our society and our culture and yet with out them we would not be who we are today. With out them we would not be a country we would be some group of colonies owned by England France Spain and Russia. That is if we were to survive to this point as such. I think if it had not been for the Revolution there would be no democracy or a United States of America in any form but that is a discussion for another time and another holiday.
So to you my friends and family, reach out this day and take their hands. I would like to tell you all to go out to the nearest VFW or American Legion and buy every veteran there a few rounds but I think that might be a little hard to do so instead I would ask that we reach out to thank them for their sacrifice whether it is large or small. Reach out your hand; embrace them as you would embrace your own. Accept them into your hearts and minds and know that they are there so that we may be who we are and to live as we are a free nation. I would ask that we do this not just today but everyday. Let them all know that we support them and let them know that we are here for them. America, America god shed his grace on thee and crown thy good in brotherhood from sea to shinning sea….
My country Tis of Thee written in 1831 by Reverend Samuel Francis Smith of Boston’s Park Street Church while at Andover Theological Seminary in Andover Massachusetts. This served as a de facto national anthem for much of the nineteenth century.
My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside let freedom ring!
My native country, thee, land of the noble free, thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills; my heart with rapture thrills, like that above.
Let music swell the breeze, and ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song; let mortal tongues awake; let all that breathe partake; let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.
Our fathers’ God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing; long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light; protect us by thy might, great God, our King.