July 4th is a great refresher

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

You’ve had enough. You’re tired of the government, taxes, politicians, high gas prices, daily commutes and annoying co-workers and neighbors.

You’re packing your bags, grabbing your passport and planning your move to Canada. In your mind, this country has gone downhill. It’s falling apart all around you and you’re fed up.

But then the Fourth of July comes along. Your feelings, as well as those of millions of Americans, quickly change from frustration to remembrance.

Thoughts about $2 gallons of fuel and the worry that the Supreme Court has just given Wal-Mart the opportunity to foreclose on your home fell to the wayside Monday as Shelby County residents stepped outside to enjoy family barbecues and fireworks.

I personally had the opportunity for the first time to attend the Fourth of July festivities at the American Village in Montevallo. As soon as I drove onto the grounds, I was transported back to a time when all citizens had one goal – the betterment of a nation.

Yes, there were stories of hardship and struggle that came with the revolutionary war. But as I listened to re-enactors give historical accounts of what it was like to have pride in a newly founded country, I began to realize the problems we see in our nation today are not as bad as we may think.

I admit that we can’t just will away a war in Iraq or simply ignore the fact that millions of Americans are going to bed wondering how they’ll make it through tomorrow. But even with those challenges, you must admit, we are blessed to live in the greatest country in the world.

I pray that as you celebrated the Fourth of July in the comfort of your homes or surrounded by friends and family, you remembered what it took to get where we are today. The foundation of the United States continues to form generation after generation, with every generation of Americans adding their mark, their legacy, to our history books. It’s scary to think where we would be today without that input.

I (like many, I’m sure) worry, however, that our “legacy” is veering ever closer to becoming a piece of history

our children and grandchildren will want to forget.

There will always be something about our government we disagree with, and life as an American will never see perfection.

But to think that a person who calls themselves an American would pack up and move to Canada when the one they voted for president didn’t get elected disgusts me.

Every country has its downfalls, and if we think that the U.S. has it bad, we only have to look to the war-torn states in the Middle East to understand how truly blessed we are.

I would hope that as you go back to that boring job and stressful life this week, we, as residents of Shelby County, would keep the sense of pride and patriotism that was present at places like American Village close to our hearts.

You may find yourself angry today about everything from our president’s decisions to the battle of an hour-long commute this evening. But as you grimace about the things that are wrong with this country, I would ask you to remember one thing.

In retrospect, you have to admit, we’ve got it pretty good.

Brandon Gresham serves as staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at brandon.gresham@shelby countyreporter.com