By Daniel Perin
Last evening I again watched The Capital Fourth of July Celebration on PBS along with millions of others across this nation. The display of wonderful talent, great music and lively dancing by many in the crowds spread across the nation’s capital parks aroused my own sense of patriotism—AGAIN! And, of course, the fireworks that so brilliantly lit up the skies reminding us of the beauty of a substance far too often used as a destructive force against our fellow humans.
Those who follow my writing, especially on this Insight and Outsight blog know that more than once I have cast myself among the many frustrated, angry and dissatisfied citizens raising their voices in protest about the seeming lack of responsibility among our political representatives. But last night that all faded temporarily as I realized how grateful I am to be a citizen of the United States of America. With all our faults we are THE nation where citizens have the freedoms to believe or not believe in Divine Providence; where we can form our opinions openly and test them on the waters of sometime stormy seas of opposition. We still have the vote, our unique opportunity to participate in determining our continuing destiny. We can gather freely in groups to discuss our priorities, plan our course of action in response to the actions of our government, and generally add to the strength of our nation through our participation.
Where else could a young girl of a minority background dream of success and work her way to the top of the ladder, become the American Idol, gain an Oscar, an Emmy and other honors—and open the show singing our national anthem? Jordan Sparks honored us all with her spirit and her talent. I remember first seeing Josh Groban on the Ally McBeal television show in simple nightclub bit. I was stunned by his remarkable voice. Now he is a world famous performer fulfilling his dream. And Steve Martin! This guy has done so many things to entertain us through the years. Last night with his band he treated us to some of America’s original music with his brilliant blue-grass banjo playing. There were so many more, all of whom, to me represented the best we have to offer. We were privileged to hear them because they were free to follow their dreams and we were free to gather together and enjoy them.
I will probably find it necessary to express my frustration with the folly I see in the actions (inactions) of our government again as I continue to participate in my own way. But last night, and lingering on through this day, I am basking in the joy and satisfaction of living free!
God Bless America, the land of the Free!