By Lydia Barbara
Over two hundred years ago this country battled for its freedom. Brave men and women fought for something greater than themselves. They fought for a dream, an aspiration, a belief that they felt within their bones, deep down in their hearts.
I love this country. I love what it stands for, what it reminds people of, what it means to so many. I love that our history is one filled with bravery, honesty, and wrestling against all odds. I love that my heritage is wrapped in men and women leaving everything they had to pursue everything they dreamed of. I love that my days of old are enveloped with people who worked from the ground up, coming from nothing and making something admirable with their lives. I love that the American dream is what this country was known for. I love that patriotism was truly what set us apart, that one’s love for country burned in their spirits as bright and hot as the sun. I love that our foundation was built upon Christian values and beliefs, that the God of this land is the One and Only King, the creator of all things.
As I sat on my back porch and watched the sun set it dawned on me that I am in love with something I never had. I’m madly head over heels with a story I never lived. The America in my mind is no longer the America we found in 1776. The America I see today is not the united force Washington, Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Monroe created so long ago. In my lifetime I have never seen a country crowned with brotherhood, yet I picture it so clearly in my mind that I somehow believed it still existed. The America I have known is not filled with unity but rather political correctness, hatred, judgment, anger, confusion, resistance, dishonesty and denial.
When I sing the National Anthem I sing of the America that was, not the America that is. When I look at the mountain on which America the Beautiful was written I look upon a time of old, a song of something I have never seen. When I picture Patriotism I see men and women united in pride in the fact that they are American and that America is the greatest country in the world, but the picture in my mind is not the reality before me. We have forgotten who we are and what we stand for. We have allowed the memory of our forefathers to become tainted and confused. We no longer know why America is great or why being an American is the best title one could have.
I will fight for this country but I now know I fight for a reflection, not the picture itself. I fight for the past, not the present. I believe in what this country was, but question what it is. I love what this country was made of, but hurt for what it has become. I will believe, even if it’s ignorance, that one day the America in my mind becomes the America I see before me.
I am a Christian untied with my forefathers, I am a patriot standing with their memory. I am an American, I too will fight for a dream I feel in my bones and so deep in my heart, just like those men and women in 1776. Thank God for that purple mountain majesty, thank God we are free because of the brave, thank God for the star spangled banner. Thank God we are one nation under God.
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