I’ll be honest. I didn’t feel very patriotic this 4th of July. I had been working hard all week and was sleep deprived. I had to wake up around 5am to go to work to broadcast the parade. We got one review, “such low quality it wasn’t worth watching on TV.” The streets were covered in litter. Apparently people walking the streets and camping out for said parade felt that uglifying the city is a great way to celebrate. I was tired, hungry, and said “I hate people” more often than I should have.
There was a moment though, during the fireworks that were giving me a headache, where I thought, “I am so grateful I don’t live in a country where there are actual bombs going on outside my door every day.” Then today at church we sang patriotic songs. One of them has a line that goes:
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
That line stood out to me for the first time when I was singing it. America is flawed. I don’t have to tell you that if you’ve heard any news story lately. People aren’t always nice to each other. We’re still dealing with racism and people being discriminated against for all kinds of reasons.
But we have it pretty good.
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
We know, of course, that freedom isn’t free.
O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
Mitt Romney posted the following on his Facebook, something I’m not sure I ever really thought about.
“Anyone ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.”
Nothing good comes without sacrifice.