It’s been a long 235 years since a group of early American’s risked their livelihoods, their possessions and their very lives when the Founding Fathers signed The Declaration of Independence. These were our first heroes and we learned about their courage through American History lessons beginning in the elementary grades all the way through high school. They put everything on the line for freedom. Have we become so blasé that freedom no longer has the meaning it once had?
New Seniors (pre-boomers and the early baby boomers) are the ones who benefited most from the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation. It may seem strange to those younger than we are to consider being born during the Great Depression or WWII to be a good thing. But it was. We saw first hand, or soon came to understand, what incredible strength, faith and courage our parents and the others of their era had. They were patriots.
They, their parents or earlier ancestors, came to this country with a dream: the hope of building a new and better life. One were they could be free. And, one where their children would have endless opportunities to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These people left behind whatever they had and whomever they knew to come to America. They understood it would not be easy but believed it would be worth it.
Few arrived here with money or the possibility of work. They lucky ones had friends or relatives provide them with food and shelter. When jobs were found, the hours were long and the tasks difficult. Yet these new Americans were determined to make it and while doing so they made this country a better place for all of us. This makes them patriots.
It’s almost impossible for us to think of what they went through. Although stories passed down let us know it was no cake walk. What our patriot parents went through was a long arduous journey through the ‘30s and directly into fighting a War on two fronts in the early ‘40s. Many of us remember those war days, when people lived in both fear and faith for nearly five years. And we all benefited from their efforts as the country moved from 15 long years of darkness into the sunshine of post-war prosperity.
Those who carried the message of family tradition and the responsibility that goes with the freedoms enjoyed in this great country of ours are leaving us at an ever increasing rate. The pre-boomers are approaching old age as the boomers join us as New Seniors. In the meantime, we have work to do in order to help get the US back on track.
This Independence Day, let us commit ourselves to using what we learned and what we believe to reignite the feeling of patriotism within in our families, our friends and our communities. The true greatness of America began with the individual and became bigger, stronger and more beautiful as people worked together to make this the land of the free and the home of the brave. This may be the moment in history when we can do our part to let the American dream live on for our children and grand children. There is no better birthday gift we could give to the country that gave so much to us.