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Cannon Beach Parade 2011 020Today Old Glory takes center stage.  She is ready and fills her role with vigor.  As a symbol of sacrifice for freedom, stanchion for liberty and beacon of hope these flags will flutter throughout our country and call all of us citizens to celebrate what we all enjoy today.

This is a good celebration.  It is a needed recognition.  During this special day the elements of a divided people quiet down and what we share in common rises to the level of attention.  Each of us is reminded of why we can share great cheer.

July 4, 2014 could be a low water mark if we let it.  When trouble surrounds us, danger heightens or distractions claim more notoriety than they deserve Americans can discern and decide.  There is no quit, no “give up” nor any “throw in the towel” in Americana.

Blessing has been imbedded in our nation’s very core.  No one claims that we are better than any other people or country.  However, we humbly acknowledge that we have been given great privilege.

This recognition is American exceptionalism.  We did not generate it ourselves.  It was given to us and we are grateful.

When blessing is a part of your life you do not flaunt it or insult others because of it.  It is what we elevate as a fuel for our humility and generosity toward others.  Furthermore, we correct those who mistakenly criticize it as arrogance.

The USA has been shown great favor in its history.  Great people, stunning circumstances and remarkable turn of events in history have no explanation other than the unmistakable intervention of God’s gracious and kind hand touching our country.  Who would not celebrate such goodness?

Our recent history has tested our great nation.  Trouble in the world has hurt American families.  Squabbles among those in a position to lead have discouraged many.  Debt has loaded the minds of the responsible with concern.

Yet, this nation has not buckled.  It has not given up.  Voices have not been silenced.

That is why we can still celebrate today.  Liberty gives allowances for those who have different ideas.  Freedom means that contrast in initiatives can be explored.

Our vote gives us the variation of choice.  Exceptionalism shows us how strong the fabric of our people is when the breadth of pursuit is allowed to express itself.  We respect the rules and laws that give others a chance.

Nevertheless, the people keep speaking up.  The moorings of liberty have limits.  Tolerance is not acquiescence.

Keep strong America.  Gather your strength once more.  Hold on to the treasure of blessing.  God gave it.  Let this gift be at the heart of keeping us strong.

Happy Birthday, USA!

photo credit: brucefong photography

Happy Birthday, America!

It’s been a tough year again.  Many of my fellow Americans have had low moments.  Jobs have been beating them up.

More have been laid off.  There are few opportunities for them to reengage themselves in the work force.  Their last job was a wonderful provision but at least then they were able to find one.

Now, the search is tougher.  I check in with them and the smile is gone.  Their joy has disappeared.

Hardworking, talented, industrious and responsible people have begun to dispair.  I do my best to encourage them, cheer them on and give them a way to find some hope.  But it is getting tougher. 

But, America, I still believe in you.  This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We are not quiters.

If we have to realign our objectives, then we will do so.  If we have to retool in order to redirect our goals, then we will.  It’s scary but we will not give up.

We Americans are resilient.  When the housing market crashes and we lose not just our home and our equity built up over the last three decades, we wipe away our tears, hug our family and start over.  The American dream of the past is a distant memory but we can do it again.

We are older, more weary and scarred from the wounds of loss.  But, we are wiser, smarter and experienced.  That counts for a lot.

When I see Old Glory waving in the skies, I pause to think differently. The pursuit of happiness is still just that, a pursuit.  I’m tired too but the next may be the last one on a new journey to capture and live a dream again. 

Vision keeps me going.  Counting my blessings brings satisfaction for the day.  Hope has been threatened but it still stands resolute.

On your birthday, we who make America, celebrate with you.  On this special day we resolve to keep making this nation great.  Humbly we bow before the Almighty and trust Him to bless us as we honor and glorify Him.

Yes, times are tough.  There is no doubt that the threats against us are great.  But, America never gives up.  We never run scared.  Instead, we grit our teeth, clench our fists and keep on going.

We choose courage.  Our faith forges ahead.  Proudly we will win.

photo credit: brucefong photography