Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Spirit of ‘76

...been thinking about the underpinnings of my patriotism this morning - the what and why of America.

I’m of that generation that started each school day pledging allegiance to the flag, and my first career as a journalist began as the nation readied for and celebrated the Bicentennial. I lived in Charlottesville for eight years where Thomas Jefferson’s presence was palpable! An enduring memory is covering citizenship naturalization ceremonies on the steps of Monticello.

While the American flag seems to have become a military symbol (almost exclusively these days) I still hear “liberty and justice for all” and I feel the Spirit of ‘76 inspired by the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

For sure, our slave holding Founding Fathers were parsimonious with those unalienable rights, but their noble, compelling concept was destined to spread, foreordained for expansion.

My forbears were Germans who ran afoul of a Kaiser and indentured servants from Italy and England. In rural Virginia, they staked a claim to those rights, to some measure of liberty and to their own pursuit of happiness.

I celebrate that heritage today!

And I believe the opportunity my ancestors found here is owed to ALL Americans and to those who seek sanctuary in these United States. 

We have work yet to do...