History & Culture

How the American Spirit Brings Hope and Inspiration to the Darkest Corners of the World

AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

Declaration_of_Independence_(1819),_by_John_Trumbull

A thick cloud of tear gas covers a city bus in Poland’s southern town of Wroclaw as it approaches the local University Polytechnic. There, police are clashing with students protesting the Soviet government’s ban on the Solidarity trade union. Some students held a banner that read “socialism is equality in poverty,” while others decried the heavy hand of the puppet government in Warsaw. When an armed policeman signaled for the bus driver to pull over, its passengers saw a group of bleeding, badly beaten protestors sitting on the pavement.

In a heroic act, the bus driver turned and pointed to a gothic church on the other side of the road. He opened the back door and pressed the pedal to the floor, feigning engine trouble. Amid the confusion, the passengers found sanctuary in the church, where priests closed the door moments before police approached.

As the men and women were seated in the church, with chaos unfolding outside, one woman began to softly mutter a melody. Then a man joined in, and others started to quietly clap. Quietly at first, then growing louder and bolder, the words became clear: “God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with a light from above…”

Although those brave Poles in the pews of that church had likely never sung “God Bless America” out loud, they knew it well – it had commenced a weekly program about America on the forbidden radio station, the American taxpayer-funded Radio Free Europe. Suddenly, in that moment, it was clear that people were united by one soul and spirit.

As they sang, the wind unfurled a Polish and American flag which a priest had placed in front of the church. As they prayed, they asked God to take their fear and instead replace it with optimism and hope. They asked Him to bless both Poland and the United States, knowing well how much the ideological roots of their movement owed to America.

As Americans gather each year on the fourth of July to celebrate Independence Day, it often goes unremarked just how significant this day and what it represents is for the rest of the world as well. With the dawn of the American experiment, a great seismic shift occurred in history. That same indomitable spirit which animated the Founding Fathers has continued to reverberate across the centuries and continents, sustaining freedom-loving peoples everywhere.

One such time and place where the power of this American Spirit was acutely impactful was indeed behind the Iron Curtain, as the Soviet Union set out to crush every last vestige of the United States and the West. Yet in the deepest pits of Soviet oppression, the mere sight of an American flag displayed in a show of defiance seemed a ray of light in an otherwise darkened world.

As Alexis de Tocqueville observed when discussing the United States, liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith – a basic truth that informed resistance to the Soviet regime throughout the Communist bloc. To the many millions who toiled behind the Iron Curtain, the hope provided by America and the church were one and the same; they both represented a purity of ideals and goodness that was utterly lacking in the Soviet regime.

It is unsurprising, then, that just as the Soviets attempted to demonize and discredit the church, so too did they wage a war on all things American. Just as the authorities sought to slander priests and the Pope, they published false histories of the United States for use in schools, characterizing America as a racist, exploitative, neocolonial place with no redeeming qualities (not unlike the false account of their history and culture that many American students are tragically subject to today).

Recognizing this trend – and understanding the power of the American story to oppressed peoples around the world – Pope John Paul II upon his visit to Poland in 1987 wove American principles into his teachings, what American philosopher Michael Novak called a “spirit of democratic capitalism.”

With his homilies, John Paul II aimed to convince Poles that the American philosophy of life based on respect for the inalienable dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and compassion for the poor has an inherently greater moral and spiritual power than the idea of socialism. The Pope specifically pointed to “four guiding principles” for Catholic life. Three of those four, “the right to liberty, the right to justice, and the right to truth,” draw heavily from the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and the Pope, like the signers of the American Declaration of Independence, recognized that all humans are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”

And so it went, with the definition of America and what it represents becoming a central battleground in the Soviet attempts to brainwash and subjugate the populations under their control. From propaganda films decrying American liberty as a fantasy and portraying the American people as immoral and corrupt, to the imprisonment and torture of hundreds of people deemed too pro-America, the Soviets desperately tried to eradicate the very idea of America as a land of freedom and opportunity.

But such is the genius of the American Spirit that it does not require extreme propaganda efforts to ignite the imagination and desires of the human person. On the contrary, being able to pass unimpeded through the thickest walls, it speaks softly and directly to the depths of the soul.

So as Americans commemorate their independence today, they should also understand that their national epic has given hope to millions around the globe still toiling under oppression. Their history is a proud one that is, most assuredly, worth celebrating.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian and researcher.  


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Rene
1 month ago

Never forget, most of our FOUNDING FATHERS lost their fortunes.

Leo Vaughn
1 month ago

I thank God for having been born in a free United States of America, but if the Christian Church will not speak out against the evil methods of Satan and his followers have their way out freedom will be lost.So Stand Up Christian American and voice your opinions of how Christ gave His life for All of, but we must accept His Free Gift of Salvation to truly befrer.????????????.

Rene
1 month ago
Reply to  Leo Vaughn

Let’s be clear, the US used to be a free country, even under Democrats. Then the new radical MARXIST DEMOCRAT PARTY became the nation’s ONE-PARTY-RULE POLITICAL PARTY.

Truc Nguyen
1 month ago
Reply to  Rene

Yes, you’re absolutely correct.

Kim
1 month ago

The drafters of the Constitution understood the sea-change that was about to happen, not only to this country but also as an example to oppressed people around the world. They must have agonized over the possibility that all their efforts could evaporate, knowing that it was up to us, the People, generation after generation, to uphold the freedoms they fought for. We are the beacon, but that light is at risk of being extinguished if the socialist progressives succeed at blurring the importance of the Constitution. We can’t let that happen!

Rl
1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

Exactly right.We have the baton now and it’s our duty to uphold the Godly principles that made our nation the greatest one in history. We MUST defeat the enemy and the enemy is among us.Fight Socialism/Marxism at every turn and every angle.We are more numerous than they and we can restore America.

Leo Vaughn
1 month ago
Reply to  Rl

Yes, I agree 100 percent.

Rene
1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

Amazing since our Founding Fathers were most in their 20s & 30s. Today, 70% in this age group cannot qualify for MILITARY Service, Biden is discharging 12% Reserves & 13% ANG for not taking COVID VACCINES. Replacing them with unvetted illegals Biden & Democrats waived them getting any VACCINES.

Chris Wilborn
1 month ago

THANK YOU ! Great Article .GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!

Anthony
1 month ago

Let’s not let the Democrats take that away!

Peter
1 month ago

This is WRONG. America is about NATURAL LAW. These apply in Poland the Ukraine and everywhere. If the Spirit of Liberty is not born out of personal experience then America should not pretend to open a political dialogue with you. And that is also out of protection for THE NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY OF POLAND. Sadly in America War erupted essentially over QUARTERING OF TROOPS in addition to the embezzlement of local capital. Thanks to international distractions the issue of civil defense as emanating from our founding principles has not and will not be fulfilled until our international role is reduced to mutually profitable partnerships with foreign countries. Otherwise we give false sense of security which will end in betrayal.

John
1 month ago

Thank you

Pam Lauck
1 month ago

Awesome! Never knew this story! So proud to be an American and part of the AMAC team. May we continue to fight for our freedom and not bow to oppression by those who hate our Country! God Bless America! Thank you for sending this!

Hannah
1 month ago

Thank You Mr Solis for an inspiring article about the courageous Polish students taking a firm stance against Soviet tyranny and their belief in American Exceptionalism.

Happy Independence Day everyone and let us not forget the Patriots who lost their lives fighting for our nation’s Freedom. GOD Bless the USA ???????? and our Troops!! :)

Hannah
1 month ago
Reply to  Hannah

** It’s supposed to be “GOD Bless the USA!!!” with the American flag emoji but the AMAC website has published “???” :)

Rl
1 month ago
Reply to  Hannah

Interesting. Why did they do that?

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