Opinion / We The People

Isn’t Freedom Great? A Wonderful “Salute to America!”

salute to america

July 4th, 2019 is in the rear-view mirror, but this year’s celebration warrants a short retrospective.  What a day in Washington DC! 

Before President Trump’s “Salute to America,” major media outlets panned the planned speech on the Mall, emphasis on Independence Day’s origins, America’s defense of freedom, celebration of our military history and reaffirming visuals.   

Reflexively, they condemned patriotism as jingoism, reflection as distraction, and the reality – a list of obstacles overcome and battles won, with faith and fortitude – as mere politics.

Perhaps nothing more should be expected of mass media outlets, seemingly programmed to be against anything this president is for, from standing by the American flag to Blue Angels overhead, from protecting our southern border to exercising caution in responding to aggression overseas.  If he is for it, they are against it.  If he is against it, they are for it.

But that is not what average Americans thought.  Even as the event unfolded, texts and emails hit my phone.  That had never happened before on a July 4th.  Several people offered personal reflections, old photographs, many spoke of their fathers and grandfathers, all men who had served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. 

The president was not talking to those who had no ear to listen.  He was talking to those who knew of what he spoke.  He was talking to veterans, of course.  But he was also talking to those coast-to-coast who appreciate America’s unparalleled past, noble origins, commitment to ideals, recurring example of personal and national sacrifice, role as a beacon for humanity, and uniqueness in history.

Standing before the seated Abraham Lincoln, shrugging off light rain, the President read a speech he had reportedly practiced, from a teleprompter obscured by raindrops.  Even television and live stream viewers saw through raindrops. 

The President honored each branch of our service, described battles from America’s Revolution to Afghanistan, took note of each airframes in successive flyovers, and concluded with singing by assembled patriots of our Battle Hymn of the Republic, a stirring tribute – well suited to Independence Day.

That did not prevent a one-sided, ever-the-critic media from lampooning his misreading of words from a soaked teleprompter, insinuating that the patriotic celebration of our national past and present was somehow a call to war, rather than Reagan-like salute – literally a salute – to those who made the day possible.

In all events, as the evening closed, I revisited my phone, and those yellowed photographs texted to me, one from the Battle of the Bulge, another of Patton’s Third Army, each ringed by tattered edges, cursive writing on the back. 

Those who know history, know we have more to be thankful for, more sacrifice in our national past to honor, more love to pass forward, more respect to reflect, and more freedom to celebrate than any nation or people on the face of the Earth.

And that is why all the media’s mass jabbering, mixed reviews and intended denigration of a great day, inspired speech, and noteworthy event, pointing up mistakes instead of seeing the meaning in the moment, means nothing. 

Average Americans are glad for where they live, for freedoms they enjoy, and for unabashed leaders – including this president – who know their mind, speak it when necessary, and work to protect what Americans before us passed into our care. 

Perhaps the greatest irony is that, in our free land, we not only forgive mistakes by our democratic leaders but also by agenda-driven media critics. By chance, one national outlet, after taking President Trump to task for a wrong preposition in describing the Battle of Yorktown, added: “Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated details about the battle of Yorktown.”  Isn’t freedom great? 

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