— William Tyler Page —
¹In 1917, William Tyler Page of Maryland won a nationwide contest for “the best summary of American political faith.” The U.S. House of Representatives accepted the statement as the American’s Creed on April 3, 1918. Its two paragraphs remind us that responsibilities are the source of rights. It deserves to be read and recited. Today very few people have even heard of it.
I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.
¹Bennett, William. The Book of Virtues. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. Print.
Each year I’m challenged to find a famous Independence Day speech. And each year I’m surprised by my findings.
This years post is of Ronald Reagan’s speech given July 4, 1986.
For the past couple of days I have read so many unpatriotic comments about Americans. But the funny thing about those comments . . . they were made by Americans. Have we lost the American dream? Our we willing to give up the freedoms that was paid for with blood of fellow dead Americans? Or our we so grief stricken because of social differences that we can no longer forge courage to press forwards to embrace our nations independence as a blessing of God?
For the sake of our country let us reflect upon the patriotic words spoken by our 40th President, Ronald Reagan. Let us come together in unity today and find hope for a nation that seemingly have lost its way. Let us not find fault with Ronald Reagan’s speech but let us hear a message of hope:
My fellow Americans:
In a few moments the celebration will begin here in New York Harbor. It’s going to be quite a show. I was just looking over the preparations and thinking about a saying that we had back in Hollywood about never doing a scene with kids or animals because they’d steal the scene every time. So, you can rest assured I wouldn’t even think about trying to compete with a fireworks display, especially on the Fourth of July.
My remarks tonight will be brief, but it’s worth remembering that all the celebration of this day is rooted in history. It’s recorded that shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia celebrations took place throughout the land, and many of the former Colonists — they were just starting to call themselves Americans — set off cannons and marched in fife and drum parades.
What a contrast with the sober scene that had taken place a short time earlier in Independence Hall. Fifty-six men came forward to sign the parchment. It was noted at the time that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And that was more than rhetoric; each of those men knew the penalty for high treason to the Crown. “We must all hang together,” Benjamin Franklin said, “or, assuredly, we will all hang separately.” And John Hancock, it is said, wrote his signature in large script so King George could see it without his spectacles. They were brave. They stayed brave through all the bloodshed of the coming years. Their courage created a nation built on a universal claim to human dignity, on the proposition that every man, woman, and child had a right to a future of freedom.
For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children’s children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.
And it’s the hope of millions all around the world. In the last few years, I’ve spoken at Westminster to the mother of Parliaments; at Versailles, where French kings and world leaders have made war and peace. I’ve been to the Vatican in Rome, the Imperial Palace in Japan, and the ancient city of Beijing. I’ve seen the beaches of Normandy and stood again with those boys of Pointe du Hoc, who long ago scaled the heights, and with, at that time, Lisa Zanatta Henn, who was at Omaha Beach for the father she loved, the father who had once dreamed of seeing again the place where he and so many brave others had landed on D-day. But he had died before he could make that trip, and she made it for him. “And, Dad,” she had said, “I’ll always be proud.”
And I’ve seen the successors to these brave men, the young Americans in uniform all over the world, young Americans like you here tonight who man the mighty U.S.S. Kennedy and the Iowa and other ships of the line. I can assure you, you out there who are listening, that these young are like their fathers and their grandfathers, just as willing, just as brave. And we can be just as proud. But our prayer tonight is that the call for their courage will never come. And that it’s important for us, too, to be brave; not so much the bravery of the battlefield, I mean the bravery of brotherhood.
All through our history, our Presidents and leaders have spoken of national unity and warned us that the real obstacle to moving forward the boundaries of freedom, the only permanent danger to the hope that is America, comes from within. It’s easy enough to dismiss this as a kind of familiar exhortation. Yet the truth is that even two of our greatest Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, once learned this lesson late in life. They’d worked so closely together in Philadelphia for independence. But once that was gained and a government was formed, something called partisan politics began to get in the way. After a bitter and divisive campaign, Jefferson defeated Adams for the Presidency in 1800. And the night before Jefferson’s inauguration, Adams slipped away to Boston, disappointed, brokenhearted, and bitter.
For years their estrangement lasted. But then when both had retired, Jefferson at 68 to Monticello and Adams at 76 to Quincy, they began through their letters to speak again to each other. Letters that discussed almost every conceivable subject: gardening, horseback riding, even sneezing as a cure for hiccups; but other subjects as well: the loss of loved ones, the mystery of grief and sorrow, the importance of religion, and of course the last thoughts, the final hopes of two old men, two great patriarchs, for the country that they had helped to found and loved so deeply. “It carries me back,” Jefferson wrote about correspondence with his cosigner of the Declaration of Independence, “to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right to self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us and yet passing harmless . . . we rowed through the storm with heart and hand . . . .” It was their last gift to us, this lesson in brotherhood, in tolerance for each other, this insight into America’s strength as a nation. And when both died on the same day within hours of each other, that date was July 4th, 50 years exactly after that first gift to us, the Declaration of Independence.
My fellow Americans, it falls to us to keep faith with them and all the great Americans of our past. Believe me, if there’s one impression I carry with me after the privilege of holding for 5\1/2\ years the office held by Adams and Jefferson and Lincoln, it is this: that the things that unite us — America’s past of which we’re so proud, our hopes and aspirations for the future of the world and this much-loved country — these things far outweigh what little divides us. And so tonight we reaffirm that Jew and gentile, we are one nation under God; that black and white, we are one nation indivisible; that Republican and Democrat, we are all Americans. Tonight, with heart and hand, through whatever trial and travail, we pledge ourselves to each other and to the cause of human freedom, the cause that has given light to this land and hope to the world.
My fellow Americans, we’re known around the world as a confident and a happy people. Tonight there’s much to celebrate and many blessings to be grateful for. So while it’s good to talk about serious things, it’s just as important and just as American to have some fun. Now, let’s have some fun — let the celebration begin!
Reagan’s speech was taken from: http://freedomoutpost.com/2012/07/reagans-independence-day-speech-july-4-1986/
I have this really cool friend on Facebook. I have never seen her and of course she has never met me in person either but we are friends. I cherish and respect her opinions about life and she gives me the same courtesy. She’s an Atheist and I’m a Christian. And we have never had disagreements about my choice to worship Christ or her choice not to believe in a deity.
Yet, the rights to worship or not worship seems to make most people go crazy on both sides of the fence. I can’t help but wonder why?
And here is where I’m going to make a few people upset about the subject:
It’s not my job to police the world and set lives on the path of God. And more so, it is wrong to push religion, faith and God on others. People were given free will at birth. Meaning we have the rights to follow God or deny His deity.
I’m a Christian and hardcore evangelism really upsets me! I hate when Christian’s come to my front door and give me their “you’re going to hell for this reason spill.” Honestly, I quickly shut the door in their faces.
No one wants to hear they’re doom to an eternal life of fiery damnation. No one wants to hear they are worthless and unworthy! Christ died for us all because we were worth the sacrifice! And as I see things, had an Atheist been the only person on earth God would have sent Jesus to die for him/her too!
Now there will be those that will gasp at my statement “If you’re happy being an Atheist I’m happy for you!”
Only baby Christians or far left/right-wing Christians feel the need to invoke fear and force feed religion. Spiritual force feeding is not showing a person to Christ and or God.
God clearly say’s in Jeremiah 31:3, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Hum. . . ‘with love and kindness’ has He made Himself known to those that choose to follow Him. No where in that passage does it say club people over the head with the word of God and drag them to the altar to repent!
Truly, the God I worship is a loving God. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. And he certainly doesn’t want His children to bully people with His word! Therefore, when I meet people who don’t believe in Christ I respect their choice, because I want them to respect mine! So if you are an Atheist and you think I’m going to try to convert you to my faith you are sadly mistaken. And, again, “if you’re happy being an Atheist I’m happy for you!” And! Yes! I’m a Christian!
Yesterday, I entered into a social hornets nest. The group topic I chose to comment on was about a young 25-year-old Pakistani woman. She was several months pregnant and married a man 20 years older with five motherless children. The price she paid for not seeking family approval on the man she married was death.
What makes this crime worse than horrible is she was stoned to death by those that should have loved her most, her family.
And what socially puts this on the Richter scale as being the most horrible crime done in the name of God are the religious head-hunters.
But this crime had nothing to do with religion. Her father clearly stated, ‘she had insulted all of our family by marring a man without our consent.’ He said nothing about them persecuting her for religious reasons. Yet, those that dislike any form of religion say’s differently; including one of the groups I belong to on Facebook.
Their viewpoints on the matter are why I’m writing this blog post. Because according to the admin she first expresses the matter as “not directly religion based, but an honour killing.” Then she turns around and writes, “However, religious laws which are rampant, which treat women as chattels and not as people, and which place their only value in marriage and breeding are responsible for the attitudes which make honour killiings so common.”
It’s a sad state of affairs when a group of people have nothing better to do with their time outside of bashing religion and religious groups. And it is even sadder when the group fail to accept reality that no one, no religious entity, or social group is perfect; not even theirs.
I feel the statements of the admin smacks of headhunting. And after viewing the news clipping of an overseas television station that stated the crime was cultural and not linked to Islāmic faith practices my thoughts were confirmed that the group was out for religious blood.
Apart from pointing out the group’s efforts for blaming religion, I felt the administrator and those within the group straddle-the-fence when it came to addressing the real issues about what lead up to the untimely death of the young woman. Blinded by religious prejudices each group member failed to see the true culprit(s). Yet, they were hell-bent in their dogmatic practice in making sure I understood their cock-eyed viewpoints on the subject; which was by the way religious practice was behind the stoning.
As I saw things, their viewpoints held validity for those that hate religion and those that do not follow God.
One gentleman basically stated religious people were brainwashed. And that those who choose to believed in God were delusional because they believed in “imaginary friends in the sky.” Oh isn’t he cute! Just a bit of sarcasm! He went on to tell me that he needed to teach me theology because I knew nothing of the word of God. I felt his tainted knowledge kept and keeps him prisoner of his self-absorb very flawed character. I got his point! But his arrogance stopped him from getting mine. I knew he wanted me to understand that if I understood the word of God as he deduced it, I would not be so apt to follow Christ. Hum . . . Whatever!
Honestly the real gem of his religious mockery was him babbling that I was trying to convert him! Convert hell! I was defending my faith and my rights as a follower of Christ to state what I felt was truth in this particular “honour killing.”
Then after Mr. I Have Courage Behind The Computer Screen tried to shame me for being a follower of Christ among his peers, his little goonies chimed in! And the insult game was on!
Each person tried to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. They were spewing out their rehearsed anti-religion scrap quickly! They wanted the key players to know they were on top of their positions as being group gophers. And to make sure they got group acknowledgement for their efforts in setting this indoctrinated idiot straight, they would every so often ask for a pat on the head after their self-destructive comments.
I knew exactly what I was stating and why I made my comments. I knew they were talking about honour killings. I also knew they were straddling the fence by agreeing with ‘not directly religion based, but an honour killing’ misleading statement.
Honestly, as a logical person, I want to know what does that statement really mean?!!! And how is their key-board courage helping these defeated women?
Farzana Parveen is just one of many women that will be killed this year in Pakistan. Many of their deaths will be administered by family members. And thinking for themselves will be their crimes. These types of killings, (no! wait!) any type of killing is wrong! For any reason!
As an American, as a woman, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s niece, someone’s aunt, and someone’s mother, I feel the women in Pakistan should have the right to marry the man of their choice! They should have the right to marry for love. They should have the rights to decide if they want to continue cultural tradition in allowing their family to pick their husband. But they should not be killed for any reason; and certainly not because they used their brain.
These women are not cash cows! Yet, cultural practice deems them so! And because Farzana Parveen used her brain to stand up for her dignity she was stoned to death. The organ that made her Farzana Parveen was smashed out of her body. And no one stepped up to the plate to help her.
The men in her family that brutally attacked her and the men on the streets of Pakistan that sat/stood by and watched this unthinkable crime publicly dishonored themselves. There is no honor in a mob killing let alone killing a helpless pregnant woman!
And as for supporting my argument below:
“Call it what you may but this was not a religious honor killing. This senseless act was a killing of selfishness. It had nothing to do with religion but everything to do with monetary disappointments. And sadly religion of any kind, mainly Christians, are being blamed here for this horrific act. Only far left wing and far right wing groups would partake in an inhuman act; and, thus, called themselves justified. The ex-boy friend was upset because he had something to gain from the marriage of convenience and lost it when she married for love. The father was upset because the man she married didn’t have as much as the man he choose. So after she failed to leave the man she loved and professed her love in court the father was angered even more because of his monetary losses! Therefore, they killed her out of anger and the rest went along because they failed to use their small brains. So! No! This was not a religious act! This was a crime of economy! A crime that can be considered as a selfish monetarily motivated act and it didn’t happen in America! And all involved should be captured and tried for murder.” –Annette Harrison
Tune in next time! But remember to prayer and or do something to help other’s.