July 4, 2020
Well, it’s been quite a year, and quite a ride. I wrote you a letter last year on your birthday, but I thought I’d follow it up this year as A LOT has transpired, both good and bad. I think it’s important to acknowledge the negative so that we can grow and move forward, while at the same time cherishing and celebrating the positive. The positive has outweighed the negative. It always has. On your birthday, I wanted to remind you of that fact. Your strength is your people, your population. You are only as strong as those who inhabit your lands.
Despite all the events, pandemics and natural disasters we have had to weather this year, our greatest challenge is our population, and our ability to pull together as one. Many people have lost sight of the true meaning of your name: The United States of America. So many people have fought, bled and died in your 244 years so that we could proudly use the word “united.” We have lost sight of that a bit this year. Lately I look around at social media, politicians and the general news, and “united” is the last word I’d use to describe your population.
We have to do better. We have to encourage a return to traditional American values. We have to stop spreading hate speech and hate rhetoric. We have to stop identifying ourselves by the color of our skin or which political party we support, but rather, by the value we bring to this world and nation as human beings. We need to stop alienating and vilifying those who have different options than ours, and most importantly, we need to re-establish compassion, empathy and tolerance for those who share different backgrounds, values and cultures.
I’ve seen some scary behavior this year. I’ve seen people blindly following the masses and running like lemmings off the cliff because that is what the people in front of them did. Especially when it comes to social media, I’ ve seen very few examples of people sharing their own original thoughts and feelings, but instead, re-sharing and re-tweeting the same recycled thoughts of others. Let’s be clear: You’ve made some mistakes in your life. We all make mistakes though, and all we can do is move forward armed with that knowledge and hopefully fix those problems and do a better job. I would never refuse celebrating someone’s birthday because they did something during the course of the year with which I disagreed. This year however, I witnessed many of your people protesting your birthday and refusing to celebrate because they had disagreements with you over the course of the year. I want to apologize for those people. Please know they don’t speak for the majority. I wore your colors proudly, and I celebrated being American despite any imperfections or issues we may have undergone or are still fighting. I celebrate you because to celebrate you is to celebrate myself, and those who have influenced and contributed to my life. I will continue to celebrate you to my dying breath. I’ve got your six, USA. I am a patriot, and I know your have weathered many storms, and what we are dealing with right now will also pass. We will persevere and come through this. We will be even stronger. We will make our younger generations and future generations understand that they deserve and should demand better. They should honor, respect and celebrate you, and all we have accomplished. We should also keep fighting to right the wrongs we have have undergone. To do that though, we need to remember the “united” part in your name, pull together, stop identifying as groups or cultures that create division, and unite as a strong, unified and powerful people.
I know we can do it, and make you proud.
I still believe.
Happy birthday, USA!