Monday, July 4, 2011

Jeremy Dunlap: Fourth of July

I grew up celebrating freedom, the 4th of July, and what it meant to be American. As a kid, I assumed that everyone did so. Even as an adult I have what we call the "political room" containing Americana decor, political memorabilia, Ronald Reagan collection and so-on-so forth. America, with all of her faults and problems, is still one of few countries, if not the only country, where people clamor to "get in" to make a better life. America, in my opinion, is still the shining city on a hill.

In these most interesting times in our country, our churches, our society, and the war, I think point to the words posted below. They come from the eulogy of Robert Kennedy. The words are a paraphrased speech that was given in 1966 in South Africa. These words forty-some years old - still apply to our world, our country - today.

It is a revolutionary world we live in, and this generation at home and around the world has had thrust upon it a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived. Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation; a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth; a young woman reclaimed the territory of France; and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the 32 year-old Thomas Jefferson who [pro] claimed that "all men are created equal.

These [people] moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. *It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.* Each time a [person] stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, [they send] forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

I wish you all a very happy forth of July.