Reflections on the Fourth

I remember July 4, 1991, when our plane landed in Los Angeles.  We’d been on a long and hard mission trip to India and were exhausted.  But I’ll never forget the relief and the comfort I felt to know I was back in America.  I’m sure many of you have experienced the same emotions.

America the beautiful, flawed in many ways, but still our homeland.  Our nation’s politics are the joke of the world right now, and yet most of us wouldn’t change our form of government for any other.  We know our systems are imperfect, because the men and women who lead us always fall short of the mark. This is nothing new. Democracy is not the search for perfection; it’s the art of the possible.

It’s also the best way humans have found to give dignity to all and to strive to provide a good life for every human within our borders.  Our history is marked and marred by occasions when we ignored our founding documents and trampled on the rights of minorities, but in my lifetime I’ve seen us move to correct our mistakes and to make amends in many ways.  So the USA is still a land of opportunity for millions.

Some of us have fought and bled for our freedom and the liberty of other nations.  I’ve told many who’ve thanked me for my military service, “It was a privilege, and I wish I could do it again.”  That is from the depths of my soul, for this land has been good to me.  I’ve had to work hard and to suffer hardships, but I’ve always been aware that the nation whose birth we celebrated yesterday is a gift from God.

Let us give thanks for this treasure.