Renewing the American Spirit

Patriot Week begins on 9/11 and ends on 9/17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution (Constitution Day)) and renews America’s spirit by celebrating the First Principles, Founding Fathers and other Patriots, vital documents and speeches, and flags that make America the greatest nation in world history. Many of current holidays have become overly commercialized or have lost their deeper meaning. We need to invigorate our appreciation and understanding of America’s spirit. This blog is dedicated to keeping the spirit of Patriot Week - and America - alive all year long.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is more than just a wonderful time to enjoy turkey, dessert, the Detroit Lions, and family.  Of course, it should mean much more than preparing for "black Friday" (or nowadays, late evening Thanksgiving Day sales).  It is truly a day that should be dedicated to giving thanks for the blessings of liberty.

As you enjoy the holiday, take a few moments at the dinner table and read outloud Washington's first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation - it is time to renew America's spirit by appropriately celebrating the a truly unique American holiday.  We celebrate Washington during Patriot Week, and its easy to understand why when you read the Proclamation.  To make it easy, the text is below.

God bless you, and God bless America.


Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor - and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't Forget Love - It is the Answer

As Martin Luther King Jr stated:
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough of morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil. The greatest way to do that is through love. I believe that love is a transforming power that can lift a whole community to new horizons of fair play, good-will, and justice.
Despite his amazing accomplishments, it seems that modern reflections on Martin Luther King Jr. often overlook the deeply Christian core this preacher possessed - and the centrality of his belief in nonviolence and live in conquering oppression and injustice.  These sentiments are all but utterly forgotten in today's political discussions as well. Perhaps if we spent a bit less time on the vitriol and more on love, our society would be freer and more just too.

For more about Martin Luther King Jr, visit Patriot Week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fighting For Freedom - God Bless Our Veterans!

Today we honor those brave men and women who throughout the ages have defended our liberty in the armed services.  Originally today was called “Armistice Day” - in commemoration of the end of hostilities during The Great War (i.e., World War I).  In 1918, at 11:00 on 11/11, the great powers ended the fighting pending the approval of a final peace.  Because of the enormous sacrifices and historical significance of The Great War (many arguing that it would be the war to end all wars), in November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day as follows: 
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

By 1926, the state legislatures of 27 states had officially recognized the day, and Congress passed a concurrent resolution recognizing the day.  in 1938 it became a legal holiday.  After WWII and the Korean War, in 1954 the day was changed to Veterans Day.  For a while the day floated (1968-1974) to create a 3 day weekend, but in 1975 it was returned to November 11.
The purpose of the day is to take time from the hustle and bustle of the day to give solemn remembrance to those who have given so much for our liberty.  Wilson’s original proclamation may have summed it up best:  
“it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.”
Patriot Week follows this grand tradition today by renewing the spirit of America from 9/11 -9/17.  Check out more at Patriot Week.
God Bless our veterans, and God Bless America.
[photo: Taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, this photo reveals soldiers of the US 353rd Infantry in Meuse, France waiting for the Armistice to take hold. ]

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oakland County Pays Tribute to Patriot Week Co-Creators

Last night, the Oakland County Commission paid tribute to my daughter Leah (and me) for establishing Patriot Week.  It was a very humbling event, spearheaded by Commissioner David Potts, and unanimously supported by the entire commission.  The commissioners have been extraordinarily supportive of the effort in many ways, and we very much appreciate their continued bi-partisan support.  Thanks so very much!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Americans Are Unreasonable - Thanks Be to God!

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." George Bernard Shaw (Man and Superman)

There is no question that Americans are an unreasonable breed.  When the British began to tax us without representation, close down our jury system, and suppress our liberties, we did not adjust.  Instead, we turned the world upside down by declaring independence and winning our freedom from the greatest empire on Earth.

Although slavery had been the status quo since the beginning of time, abolitionists demanded the end of the world as it then existed.  It took our worst war, but we defeated the scourge of slavery.

Although women had been denied the right to vote and civil rights since the dawn of civilization, the suffragettes took to the streets and won their rights.

That is the spirit we need to keep alive in our hearts, because as soon as we become complacent, we can lose it all.

God bless the unreasonable!