Happy birthday, America.
You look pretty good for being 242 years of age. Allow me these brief thoughts as we light some fireworks, grill some chow outside in the summer heat and toast your ever-lasting and enduring greatness.
I want you to disregard the blathering of our current president, who campaigned for office and then took office vowing to “make America great again.” He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You’re still great. You’ve always been great.
And, yes, the 45th president isn’t the first occupant of that office to make such a claim. Others have done so. But this guy keeps harping on it. He wears that goofy “MAGA” hat at campaign rallies.
Now, even though we celebrate your greatness, America, I must concede that you haven’t been perfect. The founders said at the beginning of the Republic that “all men are created equal.”
They were short-sighted. Women weren’t allowed to vote. That right didn’t come until 1920, for crying out loud. Furthermore, many of the founders were slave holders. They held men, women and children in involuntary bondage.
You’ll recall, America, how we waged a bloody Civil War over slavery. We killed hundreds of thousands of Americans to preserve our Union and, yes, to free those enslaved families.
Civil rights battles have ensued. We marched in protest against wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. We endured a Great Depression. We were attacked at Pearl Harbor and then we went to war against tyranny in Europe and Asia.
We let our guard down on 9/11 and were attacked yet again by terrorists.
In spite of all that, we remain great. We allow people to complain openly about the government. We allow freedoms that other countries have emulated. We are free to worship as we please — or not worship at all if that’s what we choose.
We allow “due process” under the law. We grant liberty and freedom.
And despite what that president of ours insists, we remain a beacon that attracts immigrants from those around the world.
I am proud to be an American. I am proud of my country, warts and all. Believe me, America, you’ve grown a few more of them in recent years. However, I salute you.
Let’s all have a happy birthday, America.