Don’t forget responsibility

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Toward the end of this week our country, the United States of America, will celebrate with great fanfare our nation’s birthday. The Fourth of July is the date we have chosen to commemorate the signing of that document, the Declaration of Independence, which set this land apart from the rest of world as the most unique political experiment in history.

Around that date in 1776 a very special group of men and women proclaimed that we will not be subjected to the dictates of another country or king. That Declaration was signed by very courageous men and I have always remembered the signature of John Hancock, who signed in large, elegant script his name and said, “There, I guess King George will be able to read that.”

How many of you have been asked to “put your John Hancock” on a piece of paper?

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As we think about this great holiday and what it stands for, I hope that we will not be forgetting the responsibilities that we have as a nation to ensure that freedom will be available for our children. I am pretty sure that we have learned to enjoy the freedoms, but not so sure that we have remembered the responsibilities.

Just a few weeks ago, we solemnly remembered those sons and daughters who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we celebrate this week. That holiday was Memorial Day and let us not forget that, from the beginning of the experiment known as the United States of America until today, the cost of freedom approaches 3 million.

Some of those died and some were wounded and our news today reminds us that our responsibility to take care of those veterans who return and need is never-ending and one that has been deficient. How can we expect our young ones to accept their responsibilities to defend our freedom if they suspect we won’t honor our responsibilities to them afterwards?

Our news also confronts us with another responsibility regarding our freedom.

With all that the USA has offered those who wanted to come and be a part of this great country, it is no wonder that the doors continue to be knocked upon. Sometimes it seems that the doors are being broken down.

I’m proud that we are such a magnet for the world’s less fortunate and it is true. Our nation is a nation of immigrants.

At the same time, we have a responsibility in this area. There is a process to be followed and we have a responsibility to those who have lived up to that process and followed it. We also have a responsibility to all who live here to protect, not hoard, but protect the very freedoms people seek. If we lose “who we are,” then we will be no different from those countries from they flee.

Freedom doesn’t mean that we get to do everything that we want to do without consequences. For every freedom that we enjoy, someone has paid a price.

Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

As we celebrate the greatness of our nation this Friday, let us pause and challenge ourselves to an acceptance of the responsibilities that are part and parcel to such great freedom. God bless America!