Try to Honor America Every Day of the Year

It is heartening that nearly all Americans take some time to honor the country on this date.  Attending a parade.  Setting off fireworks.  Gathering together for an all-American cookout — these are all wonderful ways to appreciate our Independence Day.  Hopefully, we will all take a moment or two to appreciate what we have, as well as the sacrifices made for it.

And now for July 5 through July 3.  Here are some suggestions:

Giving back.  Selfless public service is the optimal means of contributing to America’s greatness.  If you are able, try to volunteer for a worthwhile cause in the next year.  The best causes are the ones that suit your strengths.  In that manner, you don’t undertake obligations you are not able or willing to fulfill.

Many of us have already served America in the Armed Forces.  However, our national obligations don’t necessarily end once we have that treasured DD-214 form in our mitts.  I am always curious when I see a truck with a U.S. Marine Corps (or from another armed service) bumper sticker on the back.  How long was the service?  When did it end?  Has the Vet done anything to give back since then?  Most of us have.  Vets giving to Vets is one of the best means of loving your country.

Just Vote It.  America asks very little of its citizenry: vote and pay taxes.  I’m not going to touch the tax issue right now.  I’ll just reiterate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ observation that taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

Voting is an easy one.  Just do it.  Primaries, general elections, school board votes, fire districts, etc.  Get out there.  Most of the time it takes less than 10 minutes.  Such a small price to pay to secure the blessings of liberty.

And find out about the issues.  Take the time.  A well-educated American is a good American.  Then you will be in a position to educate others around you.

Don’t Be A Hater.  Running Girl and I have a family rule: we try to think the best of our family members and friends.  Not the opposite.

The same maxim can be applied to our government.  No one agrees with the elected leaders all of the time.  But, there are always things that all of us can appreciate about the U.S. Government.  Treating the Federal Government like the enemy engenders the sort of climate in which extremists such as Tim McVeigh, Jared Loughner and other bad Americans take vile actions that hurt us all.

I challenge you — over the course of the next year, for every occasion in which you curse the government or its leaders, follow this up by uttering something positive about the government.  It’s not as difficult as you may suppose.

Shut It Off.  So many of us have become addicted to our electronic devices, wireless or otherwise.  In fact, I’m fulfilling my need right now by writing this post.

Turn off the TV, computer, smart phone or other device.  Get outside or to the gym for exercise.  A healthy America is a great American.  Live longer to better enjoy the greatest nation on Earth.

Open Your Mind.  Americans come in all colors, creeds and customs.  I have noticed recently a profusion of commentary attacking “multiculturalism” as harmful to America.  As if there were a single American culture.

The way a Midwesterner lives may bear little resemblance to how a Southerner, a New Englander or a West Coast American lives.  Yet, some Americans apparently feel that they have somehow been appointed arbiters of what is “American” and what is not.

Horseshit.  Plain and simple.

America’s multiculturalism is one of the key ingredients in our greatness.  And, it may turn out to be the element that keeps us from sliding into second-rate status in the years to come.

The key thing is: try not to judge others with your definition of Americanism.  There is nothing constructive or patriotic in this conceit.  Certain political candidates have even gone so far as to suggest that there is a “real” America out there somewhere.  This implies that the rest of us are not American enough.

Perhaps as the father of a newly-minted Haitian-American, I am a little too sensitive on this issue.

Nevertheless, when most of us think of the quintessential American, we don’t think of people from Guam, Puerto Rico or the Native American reservations.  But, I would point out that each of these groups have long, rich histories of contributing young men who have died in combat in defense of this nation. 

Comprende, Amigo?

Visit Your Mother.  As in your mother country.  Get out there and see America.  Take your vacation in the U.S.A.  Don’t like flying?  Drive.  We have one of the world’s great highway systems.  Thank you, President Eisenhower.

Skip Europe, the Caribbean (except for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgins) or other spots.  Take in the natural splendor of one of the planet’s most beautiful places — the United States of America.

Happy July 4th, y’all.

— The Major

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Gail on July 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Excellent post.

    Reply

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