Jason, it’s all yours …
It’s time to celebrate Independence Day. I realize we have a separate holiday for veterans, but I find it appropriate to keep veterans at the forefront of the discussion as we celebrate the freedoms they have secured for us all.
An F-16CJ Fighting Falcon deployed from Shaw AFB taking off to enforce the northern “no fly” zone in Iraq. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I was a young boy, about five years old, my father taught me an important lesson. I remember walking through an outdoor craft show. As we walked through the crowd something was approaching which I had never seen before. It was a man in a wheelchair. As he got closer I noticed something surprising.
“He’s got no legs!” I snickered to my father as I pointed with five-year-old wonder.
Dad quickly grasped the back of my neck. His hand slowly squeezed as he leaned over to look me in the eye. It was the dreaded scruff-of-the-neck lecture grasp.
“We don’t ever make fun of people with disabilities,” he spoke into my soul under heavy breathing, making sure every word sunk in. Innocent foolishness quickly turned into a life-long respect and empathy for those whose lives are more difficult by birth or circumstance.
Circumstance has made the lives of many service members more difficult. Our forefathers fought to gain independence from tyranny and oppression.
Today our soldiers fight for independence from the throes of terrorism.
For most of my life, Independence Day has conjured up images of fireworks and barbecues and George Washington
with a funny hat. After a decade of war, things have changed. Thousands of service men and women have paid the ultimate price while serving our country during a time of war.
We have a new generation of wounded warriors who returned home to a life different than before.
Today, five-year-olds will see prosthetic arms and titanium legs replacing the ones stolen by roadside bombs. They will see the skin graft scars of young men and women burned by the flames of improvised explosive devices.
In a time when our nation is deeply divided by politics and rhetoric,
We need to remember what makes America great.
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 26th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
America was founded on the following ideas:
2. Humans have intrinsic worth and equal value from the moment of their creation.
3. Tyranny should not be tolerated and justice should prevail.
4. The people should choose their leaders and have a government whose powers are derived by the consent of the governed, not abused at the expense of the governed.
5. Freedom and democracy provide the greatest good for the people.
Some worldviews today cause people to frown upon the idea of American exceptionalism. For various reasons, they believe American success and prosperity creates an unbalanced world, an unfair world. This worldview sees fairness as equal outcome as opposed to equal opportunity. For this we are supposed to hold our head a little bit lower, run the race a little bit slower, and sing our national anthem a little bit softer.
The freedom which allows us to prosper also allows us to debase ourselves with ever-increasing perversion. The citizens of countries founded on the highest principles can abuse their liberties to embrace the darkest sides of humanity, and Americans are no exception.
But before you accept the narrative that we should hate ourselves because of our failures and in spite of our successes, let’s take one more look at the nature of our rights.
-Inalienable means incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred.
-Any rights bestowed upon man, by man, can be alienated by man.
-This means our inalienable rights could not have come from man.
-Our founding fathers believed these rights were “endowed by their Creator,” and they believed that truth was self-evident.
Here’s where I tell you what you’ve been needing to hear:
It’s okay to love America.
It’s okay to run your fastest, sing your loudest, and to hold your head high.
It’s okay to pledge allegiance to the flag waving above our one nation under God.
America is great because she declared her independence in the name of higher principles and for the good of her people.
We must not forget these principles.
Will you be waving the flag high this July 4th
, or holding it half-heartedly low?
Jason B. Ladd is a United States Marine, husband, and father of five. He currently flies the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” as an Instructor Pilot and is a qualified Weapons and Tactics Instructor in the F/A-18 “Hornet.” He blogs about leadership, parenting, and worldview development with a focus on apologetics. Learn more about Jason on his website FIGHTER FAITH, and follow him on Facebook or Twitter.”