Gratitude for the many keepers of the flame

The Fourth of July may have been a little different this year, but it is still the day that we celebrate our patriotism. America’s birthday. And I wonder: is this what our founders had in mind? What would they think if they could be here today.

When they picked up a quill and touched it to parchment to end tyranny, I am not sure just how far into the future they cast their thoughts. Perhaps their hands were shaking as they defied the Crown and created this little bud of a country, setting in motion a journey towards the greatest nation on the face of the earth. And I was lucky enough to be born to it.

Signing the Declaration of Independence took real courage and I thank them for their bravery. For it is because of you, most of whose names I do not know, that I am free.

There are other heroes unknown to whom I also owe this debt. Men with faces that I have never seen, whose blood has been shed so that I can remain free. Their spirit lives on in me. Theirs is not the parades and cookouts kind of patriotism, but the blood and guts, pick up a gun and fight for my country kind of patriot. Like the shaky hand signers of the parchment, they have the flame of patriotism burning so brightly in their hearts that I can only feel the heat and stand back in awe.

They could never imagine that we would be so sloppy with our patriotism that we would carelessly elect leadership more concerned about their own destiny than that of our country.

Americans have sat and watched as our president has carried on an openly flirtatious affair with a former KGB agent who is now president of Russia. A Russian whom we know ordered interference into American elections. Did Americans think that Putin’s intentions were good?

And now comes the 9.5 earthquake of news: The Russians have offered bounties for killing American soldiers on the battlefield. It is becoming more apparent that our president knew and did nothing. Just imagine if this had been done by Roosevelt or Truman.

Always in our history, when a country targets us on the battlefield, we try to kill them. Instead our president has been openly currying their favor by pulling our troops out of Germany and courting Russia’s reentry into the G7. Every American should be outraged.

How must it feel to be a patriot in your heart, put on your nation’s uniform and deploy to a foreign battlefield, knowing that your commander in chief has helped to pin a target to your back?

How can you feel the fire of patriotism burning in your heart when you have leaders who thank you for your service as they secretly conspire to have you killed?

Never could our patriotic ancestors have imagined that our citizens would be tricked into electing leadership who would actively work against their interests in the world and collude to betray our soldiers on the battlefield.

Patriotism is not just about flying the flag on holidays. It is deep within our soul. A love and pride in your country so strong as not to be shaken.

Americans need to understand that this is happening on “Our Watch”. If we stand still for this, Putin will know that he can get away with anything and we will not retaliate. So will every other country in the world. Even worse, we will not be living up to the promise of the signers or the sacrifice of our soldiers. Our ancestors lit a candle of patriotism that became a torch and now it is passed to me. How can I preserve the flame? I must stand up every minute to fulfill their legacy. This is my country.

That target is not just on our soldiers backs, it is also on mine. It was not only the hand of the signers on the quill or the hands of our warriors on those guns, but generations of Americans and finally mine. They act in my name. It is up to each of us keep the flame of patriotism ablaze and defend the honor of our country. For we are the keepers of the flame.



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