Reflections on the Traditions,
Icons and Hope of American Independence
(March 4, 2008)
The world has called it the great American
experiment. As a result, Americans of all nationalities and
cultures cherish our traditions today as distinctively American.
These traditions and American icons, cement an experiment that
has transformed and shaped not only America, but the world.
As a result of our grand endeavor of Freedom; America continues
to embrace our ability to reach out to the world proclaiming
hope; Freedom and a better life lived through opportunity.
When our founding Fathers established the
American Constitution, they conferred
that government and man; were susceptible to
corruption and the trappings of power. They framed certain
checks and balances within the Legislative, Judicial, and
Executive bodies of our fledgling Government. They struck the
correct balance and ever since, Americans have learned much from
both our failures as well as our victories.
It was President Theodore Roosevelt who said “
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious
triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with
those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because
they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat”.
As our American experiment unfolded over time, we have seen that
freedom has fostered great ideas and ambitions. It has been
freedom that inspires us to dream big dreams, and that in
America; with a little hard work, anything is possible. Our
dreams, celebrated with our inventions, have forever changed the
We could never forget the Wright Brothers, who soared against
early disappointments and triumphed with victory at Kitty Hawk.
Millions of Americans watched with marvel, as Thomas Edison set
the world aglow, with the light bulb. And how can we forget a
child's wonder and America's romance with the locomotives that
began a transportation revolution and fueled a hungry nation.
And the world held their breath together, as Neil Armstrong
encouraged us to
“Take one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
From helicopters to heart surgery, steamboats to submarines,
medicines to machines, Americans have lived their lives with the
freedom that has inspired mankind's greatest discoveries. It was
Independence that ignited their imagination and today has lit
Those who fought to establish our American foundations took
harrowing risks and great leaps of faith. When we truly reflect
on our heroes and our flag, they remind us of our battles, the
current risks and the ultimate sacrifice for this Nation. The
sight and sound of our flag solemnly stirs our attention to
those who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.
We are reminded that our soldiers could never complete their
mission of hope, apart from those supporting them at home. The
fruits of freedom have shown our love and dedication through
America's family of community volunteers. We salute the years of
dedicated service from those with the U.S.O., American Legion
and a grateful Nation embraces our American Gold Star families.
As we all celebrate the birth of our nations Independence, we
tend to wax a little nostalgic. And we make no apologies for
that .The icons of our Independence are inspiring, majestic and
forever enduring. They inspire hope to a thirsty world longing
for fulfillment and opportunity.
They are Quintessential American.
We look no further than the inspiring hope of The Statue of
Liberty, beckoning the world with the Light of Liberty. She
calls us to remembrance that ours is a nation that has risen to
the calling, the high hopes that liberty gives to all who call
We cling with joy the memories of hotdogs at the ballpark, the
box of crackerjacks, lemonade stands and the timeless art of
American baseball. And I could never forget the sight, smell,
and snap of a leather glove that catches a baseball my son has
thrown me. It reminds me that America is my field of Dreams.
And how many of us remember the simple pleasure of a Hershey
bar, sipping an ice-cold Coca Cola and relishing the
Thanksgiving dinner with family gathered together.
And it's all rather perfect isn't it?
Those traditions continue to rekindle the memory of who we are.
And the glorious sight of red, white and blue flags flown from
the front porch, beckon our hearts to remember simpler times.
They call for us to remember where we came from, and where we
With independence as our nations compass; we will always look
appropriately towards the sky as our future, and proclaim the
truth that our flag is still there. And they proclaim to us that
man and nation are inspired when hope is nurtured in Freedom and
fostered in Independence.
Shawn Black, a California resident, is a
military veteran, former federal agent and founder of
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