Who among us really stands for freedom?
By Bruce Kesler
ENCINITAS, California–Most Americans, and many abroad, can’t help but choke up as they see our flag floating by in a patriotic parade. But, the 4th of July isn’t Flag Day, June 14. How many hung out their flag then?
Most Americans, and many abroad, are thankful for the men and women of the United States who stand and fight to keep millions from slavery to thugs. But, the 4th isn’t just about them. How many Americans at home give their all to support our troops and commitments?
Most Americans, and many abroad, appreciate the freedom and opportunities found by coming to our shores. But the 4th isn’t Immigration Day. How many appreciate the work, the fortitude, the risk needed to be independent?
Most Americans, and many abroad, say they’d fight for freedom. But, the 4th isn’t about physically fighting. How many stand up in public, regardless the consequences, and in their spoken and published names demand respect for our rights?
Most Americans, and many abroad, take the 4th as just another holiday. But, the 4th is about not taking a holiday from the responsibilities of a free people. How many rededicate themselves to being and helping others be free?
In 1776, most in America were not supporters of the Revolution that dramatically changed and improved the lot of future generations here and abroad. Even among the supporters, most were sunshine patriots and few Winter Soldiers.
To the few stalwarts we and the world owe more than can ever be adequately given, and indeed few were or are given what they deserve. But, the stalwarts don’t seek material rewards or comforts. How many are so at peace with themselves by just being there in full devotion and exposure to stand up?
Most Americans, and many abroad, know all this. But, too few live it, every day, in every way. How much more secure and peaceful and at ease would all be if more did?
We aren’t free and independent because we remember, respect or celebrate it. We are only free when we practice it at every opportunity and calling and contribute to others’ realization of it.
The first battle isn’t on some distant shore or with our neighbor. The first essential fight is with our own rationalizations of retreat from being an American, the exceptional.
If there’s a tear to be shed, it’s for ourselves when we haven’t been an American. If there’s a tear worth shedding, it’s in gratitude to ourselves that we have and have taken the opportunity to be an American.
The stirring words and actions of past times are inspirational. The words and actions of today are the reality of whether we actually are inspired.
Kesler is a freelance writer based in Encinitas. This column first appeared on the Maggie’s Farm website