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The Independence Day That Almost Wasn't

Updated on July 2, 2015
Sallie Mullinger profile image

Sallie is a retired mother and grandmother who has written short stories for most of her life. Her stories are from her heart to yours.

Don't mess with America. You can say youre an American, but burning our flag and stomping all over it, makes you anything but American.

I wasnt sure if my heart would be in it this year. Independence Day is the day we celebrate our freedoms in this country and a day where we honor the men and women who made our country strong. Its the day we celebrate our Independence and along with that, our Constitution. And lately all of that has come under serious question. Our forbearers would hardly recognize the Constitution these days for its a long way from their original intent and its been attacked and under fire a lot in the past several years. Ive been bothered by the immense power grab by our government and especially our Supreme Court in the past week, to further demolish/trample/bulldoze/destroy/topple our Constitution. Ive been angered by the fact that the founding document, which our country was built on and which has sustained us through tyrannical governments and wars, and has been the guiding light for how our country which has always been a beacon of hope to other countries, has suddenly become (seemingly) worth nothing more than the paper it was written on. Without our Constitution, our country is no different than any other country. America set the standard. This is why people still flock to the United States in search of the very freedoms our Bill of Rights ensures.

But I drove thru the downtown section of our little town yesterday and I saw chairs lined up for the annual 4th of July parade on Saturday and yes, it might seem early to most people, but if you are from my little town, its a tradition and no one wants to miss the parade or the street fair which follows the parade. When I saw the chairs, I felt the way you feel when youve been gone for a long time and now youre home. And I realized that whatever may or may not happen in Washington DC, or Baltimore or Ferguson or whatever judgment or ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States, no matter how many riots, protests, or gay flags that are waved, America is still the only country in the world, I would ever want to live in and Centerville, Ohio, is the only town I would ever want to live in. Its Americana and never more so than on Independence Day.

We've lived here since 1978 after having been born and raised in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is no slouch when it comes to claiming our hearts as well, and even tho we no longer live there, it will always be home. All but one of our children were born here, and all were educated here. This is home. And as they say (corny as it sounds) home really is where the heart is and no more evident than on Independence Day.

Its one of two of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving being the other holiday I love most. These are the two days of the year where Ive always felt that all Americans are united and sharing in a common celebration and it always made me feel so proud on those 2 days to be an American. But for a long time now, Ive been disillusioned about our country, our future and especially the futures of our children and grandchildren. It has seemed as though all things that are traditional and yes, Conservative, have been called to question and tossed out like yesterday's newspaper.

We are divided across all demographics....race, gender, age, religion and politics.

Do you remember 14 years ago? Do you remember when the Twin Towers fell in an assault on our country like none we have ever seen. Do you remember how we felt, as a country, to be attacked by an enemy who hated ALL of us. Not just black. Not only white. Not Jew. Not Gentile. But all of us.

What happened to the country, and its people, who stood united on Sept. 11th when everyone shared a common bond? That bond was simple. It was “united we stand..divided we fall”. We werent a nation full of hatred for each other but rather a nation determined to align and face the foe that we identified as Islamic terrorism.

How, in so few, short years, could we have gone from that unified country to the near anarchy in the streets...rioting in inner cities...hatred for our police....racial animus that I didnt see even during the Civil Rights days. Everyone wants their piece of the pie. Every group is screaming for their rights, their this, their that.

Black on black crime accounts for 93% of black deaths and yet somehow what has become the battle cry of African Americans who insist and are backed up, pumped up and pushed into believing by the race baiters, that those black deaths are solely the responsibility of white America.

We are inundated with cries of restitution for slavery. In case anyone forgets their 7th grade history lessons....yes, it was the white man who enslaved the black man. But it was also a white man who freed the black man. Reminders are inconvenient truths sometimes, but the fact remains, through logical mathematical deductions, that no white person, alive today, owned a slave. For that matter, many didnt have ancestors who owned slaves and even if they what? Are we accountable for what our ancestors did over 150 years ago?

We cannot atone for what was. As hard as it might be to understand or believe, white America isnt responsible for the plight of the black man. I challenge that point to anyone who disagrees. Thanks to the Civil Rights Act and the countless bills passed by do gooder Democrats in the 1960s, blacks have free housing, free medical care, free educations, free food. They have Affirmative Action which guarantees a job even to the point of not hiring a white person who might be better qualified. They have the NAACP wholly supportive of blacks in this country and helping them get a leg up. But in the zeal of progressives, to somehow mistakenly mea culpa their way out of white guilt, they have instead...created a monster. When is enough...enough? And for all of our tax dollars going to support social programs aimed toward helping blacks, are they happy?

For in giving people free things, you teach them no responsibility nor respect.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

It simply is not working. We are more divided, racially, than I have ever seen in my life and I lived thru the 1960's riots. The experiment has failed. And its time to roll over and play dead with the ideas that social programs can counterbalance black oppression in our country.

And so, is it any wonder that many Americans, including myself, are wondering why we are even bothering to celebrate THE most American of all holidays? How can we wave our flag proudly when in New York City this weekend, there is an event scheduled called “Burn the American Flags”?

The sheer lunacy of this event almost makes one want to laugh. Because try though they might (and certainly want), all across this country, on July 4th, there will be flags billowing in breezes and being held high in parades and hanging from front porches and flag poles and being saluted with the Star Spangled Banner. And that is because the many will outweigh the few and thank God for that.

There will be one voice honoring America for what she was, and what she still is today. Despite the trauma of the past several years and especially this past year, America, for all of her trials and tribulations, is still the greatest country on earth. And if you doubt that, spend some time in other countries where freedom is just a word.

There will always be dissent. There will always be those who are angry for what they dont have, cant get, and wont work for. There will always be troublemakers and pot-stirrers who want their voices heard above all other voices. And sadly, sometimes they win.

But I decided this week, after seeing my hometown getting ready for its annual July 4th celebration that to hang my head and turn off my TV and stop watching the news when its nothing but bad news, is to also hand over control. And that control is tacit approval that the dissenters have won.

Real Americans dont give up and they dont give in.

We come to be Americans from the cradle, into our schoolrooms where we learned the Pledge of Allegiance, and we learn what it means to stand for freedom. Its a hard won commodity. But one so worth fighting for. It isnt always easy to be free and many have sacrificed their lives for freedom. But when you have been raised in a land where freedom is guaranteed, you take very seriously when that freedom is threatened.

Im an American who is still proud of her country and proud of the sacrifices that have been made to ensure that we remain the home of the brave and the land of the free. And I will honor her this Independence Day and all of the Independence Days for as long as I live. My flags will wave in my front yard and I will stand with family and friends and salute as Old Glory marches thru the streets of my little town.

In the 60's there was a saying: “America. Love it or leave it”. Well, I choose to love it and for those of you who dont or cant love it, and if you choose to burn our flag and by doing so, desecrate our country, please consider the other option.

Star Spangled Banner Madison Rising

America The Beautiful


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