|Ann (capriuni) wrote,|
@ 2010-07-05 02:27 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||history, holiday, nostalgia|
Last night, I overheard the fireworks display put on by my city, and watched "A Capital Fourth" (PBS) and "The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular" (CBS) on TV. The former were loud, and the latter were pretty. And while I'm proud of my country's good points, I'm also embarrassed by our greed and arrogance.
And while I was watching my TV, with frequent shots of soldiers-in-uniform sitting in the front rows of the audience, in places of honor, as MCs and musical stars heaped praise and thanks upon them.
Yes. Not to take anything away from that... but I couldn't help but think:
When I graduated from high school in 1983, my class invited our history teacher to give the faculty address.
I don't remember his exact words, but I remember his main point.
He said that America was exceptional, not because of its inherent greatness and superiority over other nations, but because it was the first in history where people got together and deliberate invented a new form of government. And he urged us, as new graduates, to go forth and continue that tradition, and invent the future for ourselves and our compatriots.
You know -- it would be nice if we could give equal public thanks to our teachers, and philosophers, too. Every nation, even the most brutal dictatorships (especially the dictatorships) can define their national greatness by the strength and bravery of its soldiers.
But in a democracy like ours, they're not the only ones "defending our freedoms."