To Be An American…
- by Scott
With the 4th of July coming up tomorrow, have been thinking a lot about being an American. But rather than it being some sort of political post, or a post full of the kind of cliches that come out in droves this time of year, I want to give a personal perspective from the time I was in the Navy.
You see, I served during what I think was a unique time: two years prior, President Reagan had given the famous “Tear Down This Wall” speech in which he spoke these words, in Berlin, with the Wall as a backdrop:
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
That, my friends, was historic. It was risky, it was bold, it was controversial…but it was historic, and it was right. Two years later, during the time I served, the Wall came down, and the following year the German people began the process of reunification.
The world breathed a sigh of relief. The Cold War wasn’t over, but it was beginning to thaw.
I was stationed in Orlando when it became very real to me. A military band from the USSR visited and played on base. It was mind-blowing at the time. And within 2 years the Soviet Union dissolved.
All this while the lyrics of the song that was played at times in boot camp, Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, came through loud and clear not just in my head but in reality. I was, in fact, proud to be an American. Was our country perfect? Not all all. Not then, not before. But it was good, and it stood for what was right.
But I’m at a crossroads now. The country isn’t the same as it was then. We have ‘leaders’ who are more interested in dividing us than bringing us together. We have segments of society that decry intolerance, but will spare no expense or effort to bully those who believe different than they do. We have attacks that are clearly carried out by radical Islamists, but our government is so worried about possibly offending someone that they can’t dare to say that…or worse, have some ulterior motive for not saying it.
I love my country, and I loved serving it. And while I love Lee Greenwood’s song, and it will always have a special place in my heart, I’m not sure I can sing the words with the country in the current state that it is. I’m proud to have been an American…but America’s moved on, and I’m not sure I am proud of what it has become.
With the 4th of July coming up tomorrow, have been thinking a lot about being an American. But rather than it being some sort of political post, or a post full of the kind of cliches that come out in droves this time of year, I want to give a personal perspective from the time…