Randy Roller 09/15/2010
As I stare at this blank page while reflecting upon my days as a young boy, I always find myself remembering what I refer to as the “good old days”! We never locked the doors and we always crossed our hearts with reverence when the National Anthem was played. Baseball or going to the creek or just hanging out day dreaming about what the future would hold seemed to be the grandest of times.
See, we believed in America! Is this a concept that has lost favor in today’s culture? I notice only the older people show reverence to the National Anthem and the beautiful flag, anymore. As “old glory” is my focus and I am at full salute, I notice the young generation talking and laughing and sadly many of my generation are doing the same! It is not the fault of our children but falls squarely on our own shoulders as we fell asleep along time ago and forgot the importance of teaching our children what it really means to be an American. We were born Americans by God’s grace; however, it seems not to be a good thing these days with all the “let’s bash America crowd” going around from within. Hollywood and the media remind us of this on a daily basis!
No matter what is said here or abroad, I still see the days of baseball, unlocked doors and that beautiful flag and a place where even an average person could one day be great with hard work and a “can do” attitude. American people have always been strong, resilient, self reliant and American exceptionalism has always been the heart and soul of this nation. America has faced both good times and bad times; however, during times of trouble we have always hitched up our britches and did what needed and helped ourselves and our neighbors. The individual was and has been the key to our success. I really understand the wisdom of our founding fathers when they choose to start that amazing document with “WE THE PEOPLE”! Have you ever noticed the size of those three words on the original document? I think they really wanted us to understand the importance of those words more than any other and really makes us a very unique place.
The French writer Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about it in 1831. He said “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.” We take for granted what Tocqueville saw in the American people every day. One of Alexis de Toqueville's original arguments for American exceptionalism still stands; America remains particularly attractive to immigrants because of its perceived economic and political opportunities.
What is the true American spirit that makes our country that exceptional place? America started as a rough but beautiful land and the unique document we call the “Constitution” is more than exceptional and some would even claim it came from “divine providence”. As all my friends know, American History is a very important part of my life! I really enjoy reading about pre 1900 American history and the resilient people who with little more than faith carved out a new world. I know we have made many mistakes; however, I can’t think of any other place since the dawn of mankind that tries to do the best with what we have.
America is too big a place for small dreams and that is true today as it was in the days of my youth when baseball and fishing ruled the day. From Valley Forge to Normandy and even Afghanistan, our best have died so we have the right to liberty, freedom and no dream is too large.
In closing, Ronald Reagan once said “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.” At times I am pessimistic about the future. I am afraid that too many of us are currently in apathy and are rapidly heading towards dependency. Yet, this country was founded by a small minority of determined men and women. They pledged everything on this republic. A small group of resolute statesmen opposed tyranny, fought for freedom and liberty, and changed the course of world history. I believe in the American people and know that patriots like Washington, Jefferson, Lee and Jackson are still in our presence. So today, I remain an optimist! Now, I will let myself go back to thoughts of baseball and fishing and thank God, I am a proud American.