Celebrating A Birthday for America

In just a few short days we celebrate what we consider to be the birthday of America, July 4.

For many it is a time of travel, vacation, time in the park, or around a pool, spent with family, friends and of course, patriotic music and fireworks.

The Founding Fathers were not sin-free or guiltless as research and history would later show. But they displayed extraordinary amounts of both wisdom and courage as the new nation fought for survival.

They were all business people. Farmers and inventors, attorneys, publishers and craftsmen, They were visionaries, people who were willing to put their lives, and lives of their families at risk, in pursuit of a dream for this idea of what we now know as the United States of America.

Through the years the vision drifted, got cloudy and surfaced again in the 1840’s under the concept of “Manifest Destiny,” which was defined as having a country that existed from sea to shining sea. California and other states joined the union, uniting citizens on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans under a single flag.

Fast forward a score plus years later, another business person, this one a practicing attorney, who had recently relocated from Springfield, Illinois, took the oath of office as President of the United States in early March, 1861.

As he did this, the nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” was in chaos and combat between the factions started within a a few weeks at Fort Sumter.

To rally his fellow citizens and to keep his own focus, Abraham Lincoln crafted a simple mission statement for his term of office, which was simply, “To Preserve the Union.”

It was not an easy mission to fulfill. The nation stood divided, families torn apart, neighbors fighting with each other. There were heavy losses of life in the four years of fighting, something not seen before or since in our history.

The battle of Gettysburg took place over 3 days in early July 1863 (153 years ago this weekend) with over 51,000 casualties. That was a hard fought and won battle, but it was not the bloodiest.

In that time the mass media was the single source of news, and the loss of life extended to the smallest hamlet of just about every state in the country.

Experts disagree on the total number of those killed or wounded in the Civil War, but the number of dead is estimated to be between 618,000 and 720,000.

On this weekend, all over the country, in small towns and big cities, there will be parades, marching bands, elected officials waving at the crowds, celebrating this concept, this thing, called the United States.

Most of these parades will be down what many towns call Main Street, which was the cornerstone of retail shopping for decades before the advent of the shopping mall. Parade goers will line the sidewalks, wave the flag, cheer and smile in support of those they know that are marching by.

This weekend, I’d like all those who read my column to take this time to enjoy the weekend and gather with friends and family and simply honor this great country.

America has given great opportunity for all those who own a business, who work in a business, and offers hope for those that want to someday own a business.

“Only in America” any hard working immigrant will tell you, can you work hard, save, raise a family and make a welcome contribution to a nation that has adopted you.

Do we have problems in America? Sure, we do. We’re still young, just 240 years old, with far more potential than any other nation on earth.

May God Bless You, and May God Bless This Great Country.

Happy Birthday America! And Many More!