Our country was born of men who longed to be free.
Men who longed to speak what was in their hearts and to worship their God, whomever they believed him to be. Men with a desire to be the master of their own destinies- to rise above their given station and build the life of their dreams.
Through much sacrifice, these great men built a bridge for all of those that would follow them. Each generation adding to their legacy. It wasn’t a perfect history by any means. Full of bumps and bruises- thousands of generations have experienced the growing pains of making a nation great. Many wars have have been fought to ensure our founders dreams were made available to ALL MEN. It’s no surprise that we are still getting there.
The beauty has been in the progress. Throughout our history, countries around the world have admired America for what she stood for. The Statue of Liberty we know was a gift from France, but few know the beautiful history about how the idea of her was conceived. It was believed to have come from not only the sculpter himself, Frédéric Bartholdi, but also a staunch abolitionist, Édouard René de Laboulaye – a passionate supporter of the Union in America’s Civil War. With the abolition of slavery and the Union’s victory in the Civil War in 1865, Laboulaye’s wishes of freedom and democracy were turning into a reality in the United States. To honor these achievements, Bartholdi and Laboulaye proposed that a gift be built for the United States on behalf of France. Both hoping that by calling attention to the recent achievements of the United States, the French people would be inspired to call for their own democracy in the face of a repressive monarchy.
So in New York Lady Liberty sits, inscribed with a poem written by Emma Lazarus, her famous words read: “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Her words would eventually give rise to the nickname: The Golden Door.
Our nations endeavors gave rise to many nicknames, such as: “Land of the Free”, “Home of the Brave”, “Land of Opportunity”. The Chinese actually call the United States of America “Mei-Guo,” which translates to “beautiful nation.”
For centuries now, Immigrants have flocked here seeking prosperity in all aspects of their life. We rejoice in adding them to our family. It’s on the backs of Immigrants that this great nation was built.
America wasn’t looked up to because our history was perfect, or because our people were perfect. We were looked up to because we learned how to overcome the obstacles that laid before us. A self reflective nation, we weren’t blind to the problems that existed, and we did the work. A messy work, no doubt. It was around the dinner table, our fore fathers talked religion, politics, theology and industry. Passionate for sure – but these men always left the table as friends.
Now, I’m not here to give you a history lesson, only to set the stage. When I look around these last several years, I can’t help but feel that “our people” have lost their way.
For more than the last couple of decades, I think its fair to say that the United States has more accurately resembled the “Divided States.” It seems like every class is at odds with someone. Gay vs Straight, Black vs White, Rich vs Poor, Immigrant vs Native, Religious vs Non Religious, Muslim vs Christian, Millenials vs Gen X, Republican vs Democrat, etc. I could go on, but it’s just sad. There isn’t a sect that isn’t at odds with someone. We all are feeling the pain of that everyday, as we see the worst of humanity on endless loop via social media. I have to tell ya, I’m on here a lot less. Can’t stomach the unkindness.
However, these past two weeks I’ve seen the tides turn, in a very literal way.
As Hurricane Harvey has wreaked it’s havoc, hundreds of thousands were displaced. Some lost everything they owned, some lost everyone they loved. Seeing the devastation down there, it’s hard to truly wrap your head around all of it, especially the very long road ahead to rebuild lives left in complete ruin.
Story after story of tragedy, heartbreak and of loss, yet here’s where beauty meets darkness in its face. Yes my friends, “our people” showed up…and they showed up HUGE. We have breathed new life into “The American Way”. Coupled with each story of tragedy, have been amazing stories of selflessness, service and love. Person after person- bringing their gifts and willing hands to save their brother or sister.
All difference was washed away with the floods, leaving only a desire to see humanity saved.
We honored the elderly, the way they should be.
and the youth were appreciated for the gifts they bring to the world.
We saw people of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds- taking care of one other…
Each church was represented in the service of their fellow man. All praying to the same God for help for their brothers and sisters. No thoughts of theology, just calling on the powers of heaven, united in a cause.
All were grateful for the strong arms of good men…
The strong arms of good women were equally as important.
We fed the hungry…
sheltered the homeless…
and found friendship in places we may have never looked before.
We wiped the tears of our sisters in every shade…
This is the most beautiful picture I have ever seen. This is what humanity looks like. It’s what true sisterhood looks like. It’s what love looks like.
America…this is the real us. We showed up, in the “American Way”.
We have driven thousands of miles to help strangers. We have given, even when it hurts. We have seen the best in each other in the worst possible circumstances. We have loved our neighbor as ourselves. This is the America I have always believed in, that I will always believe in. We are surrounded by goodness everyday. May we never forget our roots. Let us continue down this road of unity and love and may God BLESS AMERICA, land that I love.
I’m proud of us.