I don’t normally write on holidays. I believe there are so many more people capable of expressing what they feel of the specialness of the particular day made holy by custom and/or design; by conscience and by commerce. But now I’ll make an exception.
We so often forget what made the particular day worthy of memory. In Christmas it was the memory of a child born and meant to lead a people through his life of faith and his death before the ascension of his spirit to his higher power.
Now we celebrate Christmas to gain presents; the loot we shower on our young to assuage the guilty conscience because we stepped away from giving them Christ and his teaching.
In Thanksgiving we commemorated the coming together of diverse people trying to learn how to live together and move beyond their differences so all could one day prosper and share the grace of God. Today, we gather to watch football and swill down copious amounts of drinks both alcoholic and not. We engorge ourselves rather than remember the trials people went through. They realized praising God for their survival was most important.
And in so many other cases memorialized by act of Congress, they’ve shared the wealth with hard-working people seeking an excuse to celebrate. We’ve gotten to the point where “holy-day” has mutated to “holiday” where we celebrate the next government sponsored day off. We willingly thank our new “higher power” (the state) and celebrate the largesse fed us to keep us satiated by giving us what’s necessary to survive though we do little to earn it beyond giving our willing worship.
This country is acclaiming the hallowed birth cry of a nation suffering the trauma of caesarian birth from her mother England. It was a group of men willing to risk and potentially suffer disenfranchisement for themselves, their families and progeny as well as imprisonment, banishment or death for the fact they stood for their principles brought our liberties to us. The accepted the gravity of their path, walked it in peril and fought to become the free nation of men willing to kneel before no monarch.
They risked all. They gave all and suffered all of their travails so we, their progeny, could enjoy the freedom and safety of strength in the knowledge our personal labors would strengthen our collective power to resist the wrongs running rampant across the globe. We became strong because we believed in the power of our rightness. We became right because we stood strong against what was and is wrong. Now we graze like coddled sheep awaiting another shearing.
John F. Kennedy said, in his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!”
It’s been argued whether he authored the words or merely took them to breathe patriotism back into the heart of war weary nation, it seemed effective. I, as a child was enthralled with the oratory and the majesty of the speech. These words defined the NEW patriotism we felt at the time.
But, as I grew and delved into my studies I learned others before him expressed the same thought. Others in this nation and in other lands expressed the same heartfelt thought begging the question as Khalil Gibran did in 1925: “Come and tell me who and what are you. Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in a desert.”
So now I ask: what are you willing to do for your country irrespective of what it can do for you in the future? What are you willing to do for what’s been given you in the nature of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and the freedom to petition for redress of grievances?
Are you one of those reveling in the distance you place from your responsibilities while cravenly avoiding doing what needs be done in the Congress and Senate more a restrictive fraternity than the House of the People? Or is it you’re merely recharging your batteries to perform the robotic functions of cronies and special interests lining your pockets with the filthy lucre measured in lots of 13 pieces of silver?
I’m not afraid, nor are the millions of citizens who speak, not aloud, but in their hearts of their daily concern for the atrophy of our nation’s heart. It’s that same heart being abused by the conscious and wrongful gluttony of elected officials thinking they’re statesmen when really they’re petit tyrants flexing flaccid muscles growing weaker by the day.
I hallow this day for those who gave all; not for those wanting it.
Thanks for listening