Dana Perino, on July 4, reflects as a former secretary of state, on what makes her proud to be an American. As she speaks from Patriot’s Point within view of Charleston she highlights the value of community unity when she says, “Charleston, what courage you showed just three weeks ago. What unity, which I know this community has actively worked to build…We are a grateful nation for your leadership and community spirit. ”
On July 4, Word Points.com discusses the meaning of “patriotism.” Gary Henry writes, “In its finest form, patriotism is the spirit of those who make up a ‘community of dreams.’ It’s the common ideals and aspirations of those who, living in a particular section of the world, band together with a healthy sense of ‘ownership’ of their unique society and commit themselves to the improvement of that society and the world at large. True patriots are always conscious of a stewardship…Patriots worthy of the name are never bullies. They’re caretakers.”
Business Insider on July 4 presents the best in American fireworks displays as families, friends, and communities gather for Independence Day celebrations that include not only fireworks but concerts, movies, parades and more. These activities all celebrate what is best in America: family, faith, independence, American history, sacrifice, social responsibility and other-centeredness. They counter prevailing narcissism, me-centeredness, and focus on personal rights even to the detriment of others.
Fourth of July celebrations encourage social and historical memory, social unity and service, and social responsibility and commitment to the welfare of others. Celebrants are reminded in the waving of American flags that they are part of the United States of America with each state represented on the flags. Red, white, and blue colors reflect many worthy elements: white reminds of the need to foster purity and innocence, red reminds of sacrifice and valor, and blue encourage the need for justice and vigilance. Fireworks remind viewers of the wars that have been fought for America’s freedom and that countless Americans have given the ultimate sacrifice in many battles. Patriotic music inspires ongoing strength and commitment to prevail against evil aggression.
As John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main…Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
Abraham Lincoln said when he quoted Mark 3:25 of the Bible, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Like Donne and Lincoln, many throughout the centuries have used in various forms the phase United we Stand, Divided we Fall. Founding Father John Dickinson wrote “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!” Patrick Henry used the phrase in his last public speech, “Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”
Written by Diane Howard, Ph.D. (Performance Studies), dianehoward.com