Patriotism praised at Veterans Park

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What does patriotism mean to you? Most think of parades, flags and fireworks.

A holiday from work, barbeque and a swimming hole are other first thoughts –– celebrations, in other words.

On July 4, I met Amy and Denton McLane with their children Jeff and Jake at Veterans Park Hoover on Valleydale. Denton was busy pushing 5-year-old Jeff on a swing.

“Today I remember all God has blessed this country with, mainly freedom. I think of our ancestors who made sacrifices –– Revolutionary War, and all wars since –– so that we can live in a Democracy,” Denton said. “And I remember the Declaration of Independence.”

Glancing around the park, I noticed other families. One large group wearing lime green T-shirts had a family reunion in progress. Three young couples kept a volleyball lobbing back and forth. Amy McLane and their toddler Jake played nearby.

“In my memories of growing up in Texas, Fourth of July always involved family,” he said. “So, today we’re spending a quiet day together. I want to teach my children never to take for granted our freedoms we’ve had so long, freedom to make choices.”

No doubt about it, America is blessed.

Consider these words from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”

Gen. Colin Powell said, “Our rights come from a creator, not from man or man’s government. Governments belong to the people and exist to secure the rights endowed to every citizen.”

Our patriot forefathers knew these principles well. Clearly the McLane family does, too. When stopping to remember who places rulers in our city, state and nation, choose to honor God’s infinite wisdom, even though respect for that individual in high position may not seem justified.

Celebrations are necessary. Otherwise we’d forget history altogether. While we celebrate, let’s take time to be thankful for all who’ve gone before us and those dying daily for freedom.