Years ago (when I was much younger), I drove from Colorado to Michigan on the Fourth of July. Driving through the great plains states as darkness fell, I saw fireworks in the distance in every small town. For several hours I kept discovering another celebration, another burst of light in the skies. I felt I was sharing with thousands of fellow Americans the blessing of our freedom and the joy of our heritage. And I felt proud of my country.
Those were simpler times, before terrorist attacks and before the 24-hour news cycle helped facilitate a rancorous political debate that seems to grow nastier by the day. It was before fireworks were canceled due to budget cuts and burdensome insurance regulations. It was before patriotism somehow became a political issue. Today, in many ways, it is no longer cool to express patriotism.
Thankfully, I am past the age where I am too much influenced by what is considered cool. As we approach Independence Day, I am still proud to be an American and I am still proud to express my love for this country. I am not blind to the problems we have, nor am I negative about other countries. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel abroad and to experience the unique beauties of every country and culture.
But I still celebrate all the goodness of our life and culture and the freedom and opportunities we enjoy. I appreciate the responsibility we have to serve one another and our global community. Despite the times we have failed, I am proud of the times we have stood up in service to one another and to the world.
So this Fourth of July, my flag will be proudly flying and I will feel a sense of gratitude for the blessings we have received as a nation and as individuals. And I will pray that we will always be a force for good in the world. God bless America!