Honoring the USA on Independence Day
Independence Day, better known as July Fourth, is a national holiday established to honor the founding of America. The holiday also commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. American Thinker interviewed a few patriots who have served their country, asking them what this holiday means to them, as well as how current events affect American values.
Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) celebrates this holiday by reconnecting with family and country. For him, the most important American values are personal accountability and responsibility. Part of this country's greatness is that anyone "can make something of themselves. You can aspire to do exceptional things, yet if you fail, you have the opportunity to build again. That is the magic of America."
Fast and Furious and the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law are examples cited by Congressman Gosar of issues having an effect on American values. He insists that the Obama administration used Fast and Furious to attack American's Second Amendment rights, a core part of America. "Gunsellers were e-mailing and calling, saying how uncomfortable they were having to sell these guns. Yet ATF told them to do it anyway and did not attempt to track these guns sold to the Mexican drug cartel. This was done to try to catch our Second Amendment folks in a double jeopardy."
Congressman Gosar believes that the Statue of Liberty is an acknowledgement of coming to America the right way and ultimately becoming a part of American society. The Statue of Liberty signifies how America is a nation of immigrants. It is the "entrance of liberty and freedom" for those who are oppressed. Appearing on the Statue's pedestal are the famous words of the poet Emma Lazarus: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." The congressman sees this line as a representation that "[w]e are a country founded on immigration, but legal immigration. We must remember we were founded on a set of principles and rules."
According to Gosar, the Supreme Court ruling left the door open when Justice Kennedy stated that Arizona is a victim: "With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation's meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues[.]" Gosar is not upset with this statement. In fact, he feels that Congress was given the power by the Constitution to make federal law, and now Congress has to act to implement a bill supporting the states through coordination with the federal government to enforce the immigration laws. He stated, "A provincial part of the Constitution is to make sure our border is secure. This is a fundamental basic right of nations. Then we can have the discussion of what to do with those here. We are considered a nation of immigrants. With July Fourth we should reaffirm what America stands for: that it was built on the backs of people who wanted to give and took less. Now it has become an 'I' country instead of a 'we.' We need to re-instill our American values as espoused by our first president, George Washington. He was a great leader who cared about this country and someone who orchestrated solutions by magically bringing people together. This administration is not doing that; they are not working together to come up with an immigration solution."
Someone who also orchestrated a solution to keep America safe after 9/11 is Jose Rodriguez, Jr., the former director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, who has written a book with Bill Harlow, titled Hard Measures. He considers July Fourth one of the most important holidays since it is a day that conveys a sense of patriotism. He told American Thinker that one of the major reasons he and many people have joined the CIA is because "patriotism runs deep and there is a common denominator, the love for our country. Having lived overseas, you recognize how valuable and important our way of life is -- the Democratic institutions, the individual freedoms, and our liberties. For me, July Fourth represents all of that and more."
What the CIA did with its enhanced interrogation program was protect Americans. Rodriguez is still upset with President Obama's statement when he came into office -- that "'[w]e have lost our way with our interrogation and retention programs,' and saying it went against our values. I, and many of my colleagues, resented those words. It is precisely why we did it: to preserve our liberties."
He also is upset with all the current national security leaks. Reflecting on American values, Jose knows the importance of the First Amendment, allowing for freedom of the press. Yet, he cannot understand why the media does not censor themselves as they had in the past to protect the interests of the U.S. "Those most recent leaks are sickening because of the sensitivity of information. I can tell you as a retired intelligence officer a lot has been revealed. This published information will be used to target us."
He hopes that every American knows "how special it is here in the USA. We should be more concerned about protecting what we have and doing what we need to do to keep our special liberties. Those in the CIA love America and think our country is very exceptional, and that is why July Fourth has a special meaning to me."
Retired Colonel Martha McSally, who was a Republican candidate for Congress (AZ), served in the military for twenty-six years. July Fourth is a reminder of "those who fought for and died for our freedoms. Those defending our country were at the pointed end of the sword that did what was necessary. This country is the greatest experiment of freedom in the world. On this special day I am reminded of our Founding Fathers, who gave Americans a special value: freedom based on personal responsibility."
Reflecting on recent issues, McSally believes that the role of the federal government is to "protect the freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The whole purpose of government is to be 'by the people, for the people, and of the people.' I believe that currently our freedoms are being encroached upon and [that] we have wandered from the intent and design of our Founding Fathers. I [ran] for office to serve, to protect our liberties. I do believe that July Fourth is a celebration, as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, that we are all created equal, and are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights."
Amanda Najar served seven years as a military intelligence officer in Iraq. She also regards July Fourth as a special holiday where her family reaffirms the American values of "service to others before service to self. I served in the military to give something back to my country." Amanda wishes that Americans realize on this July Fourth that those veterans who fought for their country will not be forgotten. As an executive recruiter to help veterans find jobs, she is hoping that this holiday "will bring a sense of patriotism and duty to Americans which will result in helping veterans re-integrate into society, since many of them are currently unemployed and are very frustrated."
Ben Coes, in his latest novel, The Last Refuge, said it best about July Fourth and the values of Americans: "there was no greater feeling, at least for himself, than the feeling of fighting for something that mattered, for your country, for an idea, for America." All living in the U.S. should be grateful to the Founding Fathers for instilling the desire to be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.