"On this Independence Day I will only say this - God bless America. Land of the free, home of the brave. Happy birthday America - may you have many, many more!"
I have mentioned in the past how very pleased and blessed I am with how far and wide this blog is read. One of the metrics which has surprised me and thrilled me the most are the countries it is read in. The country with the second highest readership (right behind ours) is - Russia.
It pleases me as many times I write about liberty and freedom. I am happy to share those stories with the Russian people. Why? Putting governments aside, the Russian people are good people - very good people. I want nothing more than to have the Russian people experience the liberty and freedom this country has.
I have told my daughter and son-in-law many times the same thing which was told to my wife and I by our parents. Your children observe you - constantly. They learn from you and they pattern after you. While in the Navy and on liberty, a similar thing was told to us by our chiefs or officers. When you are in that uniform, people are watching you. You need to set the example for what the Navy is all about, and never disgrace the uniform nor the service.
As Americans, people from other countries are watching us. They are learning from us. Many envy our freedoms. Yes, and some even resent them. Once in a while, I will get into a polite discussion with someone who has a different world view than I. That person might point out our country's flaws rather than her blessings. I remind that person we do not have fences keeping our people in - we need fences to keep people out. Only for the ones who want to get here the wrong way.
Our country is not perfect. It may never be. But it is the best which ever was. And it still is the land which many across the globe aspire to visit or even live here. And it is not just due to our beautiful scenery nor smiling faces. It is about a set of ideas and ideals, which was penned on a simple piece of paper 241 years ago. It is about ideas which became a country, which then became a beacon of hope for so many.
Why is America great? Why is it special? Most importantly, why is it exceptional? For a quick answer, look in the mirror. Look at your neighbor. Look into a crowd of citizens. None of the authors of the Declaration of Independence are still around. But their idea is. And it lives brightly in each and every one of us. And we have the responsibility to not only share that idea with our children and grandchildren - but also with the people of the world.
Like many of us, I love this country - and I love her deeply. Even though imperfect with some warts and bruises, this country is still worth every drop of blood which was spilled to protect her and her way of life. Plus, I know our best days are in the future. Why? Because this country has been blessed by God, and blessed richly.
On this Independence Day I will say only this - God bless America! Land of the free, home of the brave. Happy birthday America - may you have many, many more!