Today is July 4th, also known as Independance Day. Most people, when they hear "The Fourth of July", think of fireworks, brabecues, campfires and the like. Some may remember that this is the day that the United States of America proclaimed it's independnce from England. Civil War buff's will also recal that on this day in 1863, the Confederate town of Vicksburg surrendered to the Union Army after a year of resistance. A bit of trivia - the town of Vicksburg did not celebrate Independance Day for approximately 70 years after the surrender.
Of course, depending on who you are, this day may hold other memories for you. After all, a lot of things have happened on July 4th. But today, here in the US, is the day that we, as a country, celebrate our Independence and our Freedom.
I don't doubt that there are people who would say, after reading the above sentance "Freedom's? What freedoms? All our freedoms are being taken away!" I also don't doubt that there are more radical people out there who ignore today's celebrations for just that reason, or are at least tempted to. I am sure there are those who think that because our freedoms are being taken away, we should not celebrate the birth of our nation or love our country.
I, however, disagree with that. I know full well that many of the freedoms that we, the people of America, used to have are now being taken away. Our country is no longer the country it used to be; it's morals and values have changed drastically. But I do not see this as an excuse to stop standing by, or loving my native land. I look at it this way, if someone you love, who was once very good, had good morals, good values, but has become corrupt and no longer the good Christian they used to be, would you stop loving them for just because they aren't the good person they used to be? Love the sin, hate the sinner... I mean hate the sin, love the sinner! (I always say that backwards. Hmm, wonder why?)
In my mind, I look at my devotion to the United States in this light: it is not the corrupt values, leaders and government that I love. It is not the evil and corrupt laws that have been passed that I love. It is the beautiful landscapes - the awe inspiring mountains, gorgeous lakes, the bountiful prairies - that I love. The wonderful people who still live here that I love. It is the vibrant and fasinating history of the land that I love. It is what our Country was founded on - the Christian ideals, values and principles - that I love. It is what our country once was, in some hidden ways still is, and could be again that I love.
So that, in a nutshell, is the reason that I gladly celebrate Independance Day and always will. So... Happy 4th of July everyone!