My family has a wonderful birthday tradition where we take turns going around the dinner table to speak about why we are thankful for the birthday boy/girl. Today, it looks like it’s my turn to talk about America.
There is a reason that I sit here today in front of my laptop, trying to scribble this out. There is a reason that the stretches of highways are populated with more families than usual today, trying to gather in celebration. There is a reason that so many people want to uproot and move to the United States, trying to forge a better life for their young children. There is a reason that we all can go on a drive and pass cheerful Little League games, mirror-like corporate office buildings, fresh farm stands selling sweet corn, vibrant art museums, libraries, malls, concert venues, hiking paths…the list goes on, trying to figure out how we ought to pursue happiness. There is a reason that, over the ages, countless men and women have looked death in the face and decided that yes, this is a sacrifice I will make, trying to protect my country. That reason is so colossal, so historical, and so profound that no words exist to fully grasp it’s essence. I’m stuck with the next-best option:
America is great.
She was built upon the firm foundation of God-given values, she is served and preserved for posterity by her faithful children, and she joins states, peoples, and families to become better in unity. America is not perfect, but greatness commands both respect and love. It can (and should) be a tough love sometimes, like when we speak up to caution her against something that we believe is not good for her. Or when we look at her actions and have the humility to say, hey, that was a mistake. But such an opinion is secondary, it flows from our hearts that beat knowing that America has done more for us than we could ever hope to repay. And for that we are truly grateful. As her happy children we will do our duty to repay, to preserve, and better her with each coming day. Happy birthday, USA!