Eleven score and fifteen years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in many great conflicts, both at home and abroad, testing whether that nation, or any other nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
You will have recognized above a little of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but with my own alterations for the modern day. On this July Fourth, I read in the newspaper that only 4.5% of the world's past and present population has experinced the kind of freedom that we enjoy here in the United States. So few... I never imagined how fortunate I was until I read that article - how fortunate we all are.
I can walk outside of my house at night without fear. I can go to bed secure in the knowledge that I and everyone in my home will be alive and well in the morning. I can speak ill of the president or the senate if I choose, and not fear that I shall be arrested. I, a woman, can attend any college I choose, provided that my grades are good, and become anything I want to be - scientist, doctor, astronaut, lawyer, mother, writer, anything at all. I can stand up with others in a public place and raise my voice in protest against what I believe to be wrong, without arrest or law enforcement brutality. I will not be killed for choosing my own way, or going where I want to go, or saying what I feel is right. That is liberty.
So few countries enjoy or have enjoyed what I have just described. In Nazi Germany, enjoying music or literature that was not German was punishable by imprisonment or even shipment to a work camp. In China, youth raising their voices against their nation's wrongs were gunned down while protesting in Tianamen Square. Very recently, Egyptian pilots flying bomber planes had to seek asylum in other countries in order to refuse their orders to drop their deadly cargo among their own people, who were protesting a tyrranical rule of government. Yet we here in American speak and act freely, without fear.
It has not come without a price. Thousands, even millions of men and women have laid down their lives over the years to preserve that freedom. Some continue to do so today, and for them we are forever grateful. Their final sacrifice has placed the American cause in a temple where the whole world can behold it, and know that it is something worth dying for, concecrating our highest beliefs far beyond anyone's power to add or detract.
However, the brave military servicemen are not the only guardians of our freedom. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought and died for this nation have so nobly advanced. The only way that this country can continue to house the kind of liberty we have thus far held dear is if her people resolve that those dead will not have died in vain, and that they will give their own full measure of devotion - their voice, their hands, and their hearts - to her cause.
If we can do this, then our God-given government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.
God bless America - land that I love!
Stand beside her and guide her
through the night with the light from above.
From the mountains to the praries
to the oceans white with foam...
God bless America,
my home sweet home!
And that He will my frieds - have no fear for that.
'Til next time...