Happy Birthday America

“We must be free 
not because we claim freedom, 
but because we practice it!”  – W. Faulkner

Each week I receive Maria Shriver’s insightful blog entitled, “I’ve Been Thinking”.   This week’s piece included a Birthday Letter to America that is both timely and thought provoking. I wanted to share it with you.  My best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July, dear America!  It’s your birthday! Happy, happy birthday to you!

Lucky are those of us who live within your shores and get to call you home.  You get another turn around the sun, and I, for one, am grateful you are still here and still standing.

I know it’s been a tough year for you, America.  There’s the pandemic, the polarization, the election, the discontent, and the ongoing debate about who you are, who you aren’t, what you represent, and who gets to represent you.  That’s the nature of a democracy, though, isn’t it?  It’s alive, it’s evolving, and it’s ever-changing.

Right now, you have a lot on your plate.  So many who live on your lands are hurting, whether from the grave losses in Miami, the impact of the Delta variant, or other painful challenges.  Your history is being amended, updated, corrected, and broadened.  The democracy upon which you were built is under attack by some who fear your openness, your graciousness, and your ability to listen and change.  But you, America, are strong.  You are still standing despite the forces within and outside that are trying to dismantle your ideals.

My dear country, I want you to know this on your birthday: You were founded on a great idea.  People have fought for that idea and those ideals, and there are so many brave people who are still committed to making sure that you survive and thrive.

I believe in you, America.  I believe you can amend, adjust, and include.  I believe your best days are in front of you. All the parts of your being—all the parts of how you came to be—have made you strong enough to make room.  That’s what makes you great.  This I know for sure.

What I also know is that the majority of us are strong enough and committed enough to do all we can to make sure the very fabric of who you are survives.  On this day when we celebrate your independence, it behooves each of us to recommit ourselves to the greatest country on earth.  You are not a perfect country, because for many you have not lived up to your promise.  You can do better. I know you know this, and I know you want to be better for the majority of those who call you home.

So as we celebrate all that you are, America, my wish for you is that you continue to be a light in the world.  My wish for you is that you continue to provide the hope that so many need in their lives right now.  And my wish for you is that all of us recommit ourselves to your democratic ideals.  May we all stand ready to defend you, so that you can continue to be the safe harbor for those looking for a home to call their own.

Happy Birthday America