Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July



Well, aside from updating my movie blog, I haven't been up to too much recently. Today has been a really good 4th of July though. I watched the parade for a little while, then I felt like reading something patriotic. After skimming my bookshelf, I realized I didn't have anything too patriotic. I ran up to Borders books, and finally settled on two books: 1776, by David McCullough (yeah, I can't believe I still haven't read it yet), and America: The Last Best Hope, by William Bennett. I'm just taking a break from the second book right now--I didn't even realize that I had been reading for two hours. It just pulled me in and made history interesting. If the name sounds familiar, William Bennett also wrote The Book of Virtues awhile back.

Anyway, I wanted to read something more historical because I was sitting around thinking about what it means to be a patriot. Yeah, I consider myself a patriot--I love my country and the principles it was founded upon. I admire and respect the Armed Forces, I stand for the national anthem (even if I'm in a rush, I always stop and put my hand over my heart), and I've tried to be involved with making my opinions known (although I haven't had a chance to vote yet...I missed the application deadline after I turned 18, and I was out of the country when the 2004 election came around). But patriotism involves more than that. The introduction for the new book I'm reading actually gives some very good advice. This comes from Ronald Reagan's Farewell Address: "If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual."

In the introduction to America: The Last Great Hope, Bennett describes his reasons for writing the book. He says, "I write this story to kindle romance, to encourage Americans to fall in love with this country, again or for the first time. Not unreflectively, not blindly, but with eyes wide open." Hopefully, this will lead us to become informed patriots, people who are not only proud of the freedoms and opportunities we presently enjoy, but aware and appreciative of the events and sacrifices that led to the founding of our country.

Oh, thus be it ever,
When free men shall stand
Between their loved homes
And the war's desolation!

Blest with vict'ry and peace,
May the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made
And preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must,
When our cause it is just,
And this be our motto:
"In God is our trust!"

And the star-spangled banner
In triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the brave!

The Star-Spangled Banner (4th Stanza)
by Francis Scott Key

3 comments:

Nancy C. #12 said...

Jon,
You have been tagged go to my blog for details

Sylvia said...

Great picture of the flag, did you take it?

Jon said...

Sadly, I didn't take the picture--I found it on the internet.