I was a first grader when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. I witnessed a nation arise from a peaceful slumber and immediately forge a bond of united effort to defend freedom far a cross the troubled oceans of our borders.
In the decade that followed that fateful and history-changing day, Americans locked arms of determination and admirable patriotism, and America displayed to the world the true meaning of a united democracy pledged to uphold freedom at all costs anywhere.
That red, white, and blue patriotism was forever injected into my veins of American pride and still freely and firmly flows today midst nearly daily attacks upon our national history and heritage. To some, the flag, statues, memorials, etc., of history have become a battlefield of destruction and attempted removal from our cherished national heritage.
Throughout our history, heroic men and women have given their lives to guarantee the continuance of our glorious American heritage. There have been notable historical mistakes made because we were and still remain an experiment in democracy, where a remaining learning process will always exist.
Somewhere along the line of our presumed intellectual advancement, a traditional fear of offending persons and organizations who may feel themselves offended by the majority rule of democracy emerged. Freedom dictates the right of every citizen to express their opinions. But underlying our form of government is the majority, if proved correct by our Constitution, who still must dictate the path of daily progression.
Our history proves that we have made grievous historical mistakes in our conduct toward many of differing races, religions, and nationalities, but trying to compensate by removing the longstanding memorials and statues of that history will not change one word or action of the past.
In the personal annals of our lives, who can change one moment of the past? Each moment, whether good or bad, is forever etched upon our ledger of life. Hopefully our personal history has caused us to repair the bad and increase and build upon the good.
So it should be with our nation. We are who we are because of what we have been, and no one can change this formula of life and history. We have endeavored to change the mistakes with the expectation of likely making more while, upon the recognition of them, pledging to once more correct our errors.
Unquestionably, we are the most blessed nation in the world. What other nation is confronted, and has been forever confronted, by millions of people from all over the world wanting to come to our shores at any cost?
The real crux of my column is to address the current trend of some influential public figures who seek to degrade or remove our historical symbols and, by public disrespect, set an example by which many young people may be influenced. None of them have lived through the experience of my youth. Many have made millions from simply being actors in many fields of public demand of their God-given abilities.
Regardless of when the flag was nationally used in our history, it nonetheless will forever remain a national flag of a certain period of our nation.
Have America and all Americans, in every path of history, made the correct choice? Absolutely not. Would we change some of the mistakes of our history if possible? Most assuredly. Can we alter history in any way by destroying the reminders of that history? Never. Can we as Americans daily determine to become better in our democratic ideology and pride in the land we love? Hopefully.
Gerald Ford, our 38th president, stated: “Our values, our principles, and our determination to succeed as a free and democratic people will give us a torch to light the way. And we will survive and become the stronger – not only because of a patriotism that stands for love of country, but a patriotism that stands for love of people.”
God has surely blessed America even with all of its shortcomings. We are abundantly blessed to be Americans. Shall we learn from the past, meaningfully contribute to the present, and bequeath a patriotic observed future.