—- Lao-Tzu, “Tao Te Ching“, Chapter 18
Perhaps we can say instead that “patriotism is re-born”, for certainly there must have been a time before when we were united with pride for our country. Never to be destroyed; never to be torn asunder. Even if but one person remains that remembers the basic core values upon which this country was founded— Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness— America will continue to live. Even if every American is instead finally lost, it will become like the legendary lost Atlantis— the great dreamland of America, a mythical land in humanity’s past which once represented an idea towards Utopia. But for the present moment we remain. But for now we hold true. We stand strong. We stand brave. And we stand proud with one another, hand in hand, arm to outstretched arm in kind embrace.
From the green, rolling hills to the beautiful flat plains, from the bold rocky mountains to the quiet desert areas, from the mighty thundering Niagara across to the Grand Canyon — no other land in the world is quite the same. With the variety of seasons and mixed climates, at times hot and cold both at once, in places crowded and in places scarcely settled, as one land bounded on both east and western sides by stretches of deep blue water— America, the place loved by so many, exists as such now only because of its people.
To refuse the orders of others, to stand against the tide of any force that would threaten, to reach out to our others in their time of need— no storm, physical or otherwise, can shake away our cooperation or dedication to each other. We stand easily when we are united— we even call this nation “United”. So it is in the present moment, and may it remain forever so. Otherwise we fall.
It is easy to see that division is reduction; that division is narrowing. The future is open and undetermined. All paths lead outward from the present. We do not walk backwards and trip hard over ourselves. We do not cower with such fear that we must turn our collective heads and constantly check where we have been. We know how we arrived to this point. American history is no secret. We know what we have done.
And we have suffered. We have struggle. We have never claimed to be perfect. We are humans after all, for all our good and poor actions. We may err. We have erred. Yet we strive to make amends and to do better. And so we have. We have come a very long way in a short time. We have more we can do, and we are doing it even now.
The basic core values upon which we were built are for every American alive here today: Life, Liberty, and that endless Pursuit of Happiness. There is no end to the great chase. As we move forward in time, we stand in this unique space, strong and secure.
A song begins to play in mind, a tone, a melody— haunting words that can bring gooseflesh to the arms and body. A tear or two or more may arrive as we recognize our utter humanity as we listen— we are all people who strive to be and to allow others to be as they may. Cooperation still exists: we must first agree before we can compete, else the game can never even commence to be played. We listen together. We agree to the moments of quiet, to allow that song its own due time and course, that it may continue to resound now and forever, and in our recurring memory.
We stand because we know the battles we still face. We stand because we cherish those who have fought already. We stand to honor those who still fight. We stand united, because we choose to do so, and because we know the difference between right and wrong. We choose the side of the just, for we hold that our core values are good and true. We fight when we must and when we can, and we proudly stand to recognize those who fight when we cannot. It is natural to do so, and even though it may seem to be a simple physical act, to stand upright— for others long past or for those who have given so much already, that simple physical act represents more than what it seems.
An infant is encouraged as soon as possible, to stop crawling along the floor or ground, to grab hold of a helpful object or a good parent’s leg, to pull the delicate and fragile body upwards, to flex those growing muscles, to learn to become strong— to finally take that very first step in life. The good parent will rejoice at such an act. A good parent will find personal fulfillment and purpose in their own life, to see the beloved infant standing alone and then walking. Laughing outright with wet eyes, showing a smile so large it threatens to break the face and split the head wide apart with joy, filled with an internal satisfaction that must be truly beyond words to describe— what else can be done at a moment but to feel truly, utterly, completely alive and content?
Such is the meaning of “standing”. Upright and vertical, removed and apart from the animal kingdom, evolved away from our baser and more course activity of quick instincts without judgement or consideration of consequence, we stand because we wish to raise ourselves upward. We stand because it’s in our nature to do so. We stand because we wish to be the best we can. We stand because we are not afraid. We stand because we do not cower to others. We stand because we are strong enough to do so. We stand, because we can.
We are not infants who have never learned the simple acts. We are not children weak in body or frightened of the dark, hiding under the bed or in the corners of the world. We stand upright to get closer to the light— the light of the sun, the light of the moon or light of the stars, whatever light that helps us to see further ahead beyond the point of where we are now.
We stand because we are Americans. We dream of life for all, freedom for all, happiness for all, and we defy the odds and stand, when it is much easier to choose the easy way and fall down upon our knees. It takes effort, it takes courage, it takes trust, it takes loving support— to take the very first step in physical life, and we can only move forward if we first stand where we are, where we live and exist now as aware, thinking creatures in the present moment of life and existence. Together, united as one people standing strong, we may even move the entire world further along with us.
I myself choose life. I choose freedom. I choose happiness. And I choose to stand as tall as possible for as long as I am able. I hope that I am not alone or within a small group. A phrase comes to mind now. “Strength in numbers”—united as one people, together we can make all the difference in the world.
— Be well as always, and peace unto you.