Several wonderful articles have been written about the Fourth of July and have detailed various aspects of our independence and the Founding Fathers. I have waited until after the fourth to put in my thoughts because I wanted to let the excitement and euphoria of the celebrations wane a bit, so we could focus briefly on what it means to truly “love our country”.
When people say they love their country, what specifically are they loving? What aspect of it do they love? Do we love the actual geographical land that is this country? The earth and soil that make up the purple mountain majesties? What about the lush wheat fields that dominate the Midwest, or the sands on our beaches? These are all beautiful aspects to be sure, but it’s just land.
What about the government of our country? I know, I know, stop laughing so hard before you pass out. As our Founding Fathers have said, government is a necessary evil; anything less would be anarchy. So we know we don’t love the government, we merely tolerate it.
So what exactly do we love about our country? I know for different people it means different things. But I do believe that love of country is more about concepts and ideas than it is about any kind of tangible object. We love our flag, our sacred monuments, the warriors who protect our freedom and liberties, and our founding documents, but even these things simply represent something else; something greater—something more.
I firmly believe one of the things that we genuinely love about our country is the concept of freedom; the innate ability to forge our own destinies and choose our lives according to the dictates of our own hearts and minds. We love the ability to choose those who would have the privilege of serving us as our temporary leaders and granting them the power to live up to our values so far as practical and even though they sometimes fail us; we love the fact that in this land, having a dream and the perseverance is the only prerequisite to achieving whatever we have in us that screams out to be heard, to be followed, to be lived. We love the concept that we all have inalienable rights, as a free people, that were granted to us by God, and not some centralized government that has no idea what is best for us.
We love these things, because indeed, they are more than just things. When put into practice by a people that don’t or won’t accept defeat—under any circumstances, these “things” become the cornerstone and the beacon for faith, hope, and love for our country. And the greatest of these is love.