Once again we celebrate our nationhood. On this day when we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we begin to think once again of our patriots, to the brave men and women who saw past the security of the moment to the greatness of the future: We owe so much to all of them, some known and some unknown, who have sacrificed their dreams and sometimes their lives for the greatness and security of this country. We are beneficiaries of their sacrifices, and our gratitude must extend beyond the picnics, the barbecues and the fireworks display. We must return in kind, sacrifice for sacrifice, contribution for contribution and patriotism for their patriotism. Patriotism is not the right of a few but, instead, the responsibility of many. It is a moral imperative of all those who call ourselves “Americans”.
To be a patriot now is not that different as it was in the early periods of our history. The world has changed a lot since 1776. The wonders of improved communication has given us a new appreciation for the worlds many contributions and ideologies of the world’s many races and nationalities. Being a patriot, however, has never meant that we were to be enemies to the rest of mankind. Patriotism, at its finest is not based on hate and bigotry. Love and faith are the building blocks of true patriotism. The love of which we speak is that love for our fellow countrymen to whom we are bound by common sympathies, needs and aspirations. The faith of which we speak is that faith in the American ideal of democracy, an ideal that has brought happiness and prosperity to a multitude of different people and nationalities.
Being a patriot is not just a momentary thrill as the flag passes by. Perhaps it is said best by a dedicated public servant. “I venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short but frenzied out burst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime”.
Regardless of your race, your political preference or cultured tradition, we are indebted to the American patriot and only our patriotism can serve as a repayment.
Pastor Hans Lillejord