A Celebration of the American Experiment
July 4th, or Independence Day should have a special place in every American heart. It is unique among national holidays, celebrating as it does not a great victory or conquest but the Declaration that brought the nation into existence. The follwoing best-selling authors write about American values and customs and/or have characters that attempt to keep U.S. citizens safe. American Thinker interviewed them about their patriotic spirit.
American Thinker: What meaning does July 4th have to you?
Ted Bell, whose latest book is Warriors: If you did one of those man-in-the-street interviews and asked random passersby that question they’d probably say “Fireworks”! Very few people are taught history anymore. They have little clue about the epic struggle that lies behind that holiday, nor of the brilliance and bravery of that little band of brand new Americans who made it possible: creating the greatest system of government the world had ever seen. We need to restore the Founders to the classrooms before it’s too late, if it’s not already.
Alafair Burke, whose latest book is All Day And A Night: Clearly there's an appreciation of country, but I also associate July 4th with both community and personal independence: good people standing up for what they believe in.
J. A. Jance, whose latest book is Remains of Innocence: It's the birthday of our country, the land of opportunity. It's the place my forebears came to as immigrants, looking for a better life, and they found it.
Oliver North, whose latest book is Counterfeit Lies: Independence Day is the culmination of what transpired in that long difficult year to dissolve the union between us and a tyrannical foreign leader, as well as how fifty-six remarkable men sat down and created something the world has never seen before. I hope these values will not be given away today.
James Rollins, whose latest book is The Kill Switch: It’s a celebration of family and country. It’s a time to remember how blessed we are to live in this beautiful land: free and able to pursue our dreams.
Beatriz Williams, whose latest book is The Secret Life Of Violet Grant: Now that I’m an adult, the holiday reminds me of our extraordinary nation, that such a brave and brilliant collection of men and women gave us our start. When I hear the words “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,” I just get chills. That oath had heartfelt meaning in the 18th century, and we should try to live every day in appreciation of the sacrifices these people willingly made for us, the generations who followed.
Thomas Young, whose latest book is Sand And Fire: It's a celebration of the American experiment: government of the people, by the people, for the people. Ideally, it's a moment to take a break from political differences and share in the appreciation of American ideals.
American Thinker: How do you define freedom?
Ted Bell: The ability to live one’s life with all of one’s personal choices intact. My church, my political party, my beliefs, my own pursuit of my own idea of happiness: true justice for all people, minimum interference with my daily life and pursuit of my goals, being free from the reach of tyrants and dictators with the witless arrogance and pomposity to assume they know what is best for countless millions of sentient individuals who would never, ever accrue such outrageous, blind power and the level of brutal narcissism required to exert it.
Alafair Burke: Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Hard to say it better than that.
Jim DeFelice: Everyone talks about freedom these days, but I think what a lot of people forget is that freedom is a responsibility more than a right. You have a responsibility to support your neighbors and the community in general. You need a vision of the future, and sometimes to do things that aren’t easy or just fun. Freedom during the revolution meant “volunteering” for the militia, going away from your farm and family for weeks and risking your life. The things most of us do for our country pale by comparison.
J. A. Jance: The ability to do, say, and believe what you want.
Oliver North: It is not about self-gratification, but is about responsibility and opportunity.
James Rollins: To be able to pursue your passions and dreams without boundaries or limits. To be free to become the best of who you are.
Beatriz Williams: Freedom is the ability to choose your own destiny, to make of your life what your abilities and your inclinations will allow you, so long as you don’t infringe on the freedom of others to do the same thing.
Thomas Young: Freedom means the ability to pursue your ambitions, to make the most of your talents, to see where hard work can take you, and to know that everyone else around you has the same opportunities, regardless of race, creed, social status, etc.
American Thinker: What do you love about America?
Ted Bell: It’s a late on a sunny Saturday afternoon in a small town somewhere in the middle of the country, sometime in the middle of the last century. Flags flying from every porch on every street, lawn picnics spread across the rolling green as far as the eye can see, as a small band of plump old men strikes up “God Bless America” on tubas, trumpets, and trombones beneath the first flash of the rocket's red glare across the evening sky. Somehow, that nation that came together so heroically to defeat true evil in World War II has got to find the courage and the strength, and moreover, the determination to grab the great pendulum of time and swing it back hard from whence it came. The daily nightmare of watching such a precious, fragile notion as America vanish so quickly before one’s very eyes is not the way I intend to live out the balance of my life. We can’t wait for George Washington Jr. to ride in on his white stallion and pull us from the fire.
Alafair Burke: It’s an ongoing search for an even more perfect union.
Oliver North: The idea of individual freedom. How we can come forth to do something about the misdeeds, and we do it, not with bullets and bombs, but with a ballot box. We have a remarkable group of people who have stepped forth to volunteer and serve our nation. Let us remember this is the first war since the American Revolution where we have an all-volunteer army. This is a direct lineage back to 1776.
James Rollins: I could certainly wax poetic about the many virtues of our republic, our government, the people of every star and stripe that make up this diverse nation. But most of all, it’s all about those dreams I mentioned previously. There is no other country where the son of a sheet-metal worker is still able to get a degree in veterinary medicine and eventually spin stories that are shared around the globe. That’s the true beauty and wonder of these great United States.
Dave Wellington, whose latest book is The Hydra Protocol: It’s easy to forget how great it is here, where we can speak how we choose, worship as we please (or don’t), where nobody threatens us just because we say the wrong thing or support the wrong candidate. That’s started slipping in recent years, that freedom, but it’s still pretty strong. I love this country. I mean the physical land and people of it, not its slogans or symbols. I love being out west where the sky is so much bigger. I love the big cities where all kinds of people try to get along. I love the oceans, both of them, and standing with bare feet in the surf. It’s a beautiful place.
Beatriz Williams: Having spent some time overseas, I’m particularly grateful for the way we come together in times of crisis. I think there’s a wonderful sense of family and community here that arises from our common roots as immigrants making a bold venture into a strange land, and I would include the very earliest Americans in that observation.
Thomas Young: I could give you a 100,000-word answer and make it a book. But since we don't have the space for that, I'll say what I love most about America is that we keep trying to live up to very lofty ideals. Have we always gotten it right? Certainly not. Have we always treated all groups of people well? Sadly, no. But because of the freedom enshrined in the Bill of Rights, when we get it wrong, somebody will say so. Someone will use freedom of speech, freedom of the press, to say, "Hey, this needs to change."
THANK YOU!! Happy 4th To Everyone
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.