We found ourselves alone in the car, having an intelligent conversation about culture. The man I love (who dons a uniform every morning) and I discussed American culture and then German culture. It’s happened often over these past two years, since we’ve been outside America. I wholly believe that one cannot fully comprehend home, till forced to exist without it.
Germany, this land in which we now dwell, has ‘always’ been here. It’s changed hands every few years, its map borders extended or contracted, and been ruled by one empire or another for eons. A definite ‘birthdate’ does not exist. A more modern seaming back together from the tolls of war is in fact found written in modern history, only 20 years ago. As a whole, she’s has revamped herself many times over. Her citizens are survivors.
The land from where we come, where our hearts will always call home, was but an idea 235 years ago, and a far-fetched one at that. A ‘notion’ bubbled up from the souls of 56 men who knew the definition of courage. The ridiculous wave of gumption happened to hit these men simultaneously, and collectively, their spirits took flight and they led.
As we have traveled the European hills and valleys these two years, we’ve come to learn more about the American spirit. How can that be? Sometimes learning what something is not, helps to crystallize what it is. And, let me be clear, in terms of comparing cultures, I do not speak of worth or goodness here. We are all the Creator’s creations, and we travel this life with the same needs and wants no matter what continent on which we happened to be birthed. We all need sustenance, security, and love. Period. But beyond that, the American spirit is different.
The initial idea of a free and independent United States was frought with fatiguing bloodshed and death. The price of such an endeavor, I’m sure, seemed unworthy and too high at the time…….to some. But the infant embers of this ‘spirit’ whispered, “This is the right thing” to those willing 56. They then fanned those sparks into a raging passion. Knowing the price would be high, this passion of doing “the right thing” was born with them, and continues today.
In modern history of its short life, America’s wars and battles were, more often than not, fought for or against an idea, because it was the right thing at the time.. Her military action is forged usually in defense of downtrodden countries who need a helping hand. Cost is always an afterthought. (This is not unlike any normal family’s actions when tragedy strikes.) American blood is therefore spilt all over the world. Help is sent from the homeland in the form of sweat and tears as well. It seems American relief in terms of disaster is willingly given. And expected. You know what? That’s ok.
The world may not understand our ‘doing the right thing’ all the time, because sometimes it may mean breaking a few rules. America seems to follow a Higher Calling. To some it may look like arrogance. To others it resembles power. To me it looks like leadership. And I don’t speak here of its ‘official leaders’, because in actuality, they are not the ones leading. Instead, American citizenry are the true leaders. They, in fact, lead the elected members, and this being the brilliance of our constitution.
So today we celebrate our system and our Independence from tyrany, to break ground on a new idea,
the right idea.
The Right Thing.