With the current Federal Government Shutdown, the morale in our great nation is pretty low. I spoke with my dad last night who said he had to send home 97% of his department at the Air Force Base, some of them leaving in tears. These people have families and other financial responsibilities that, unlike government jobs, cannot be put on hold. I’ve heard a lot of negative chatter about our President, our government, and our entire nation and while I am also bummed out about our current state, I also think we are still a pretty great country. We’re having major problems, but we will get better. We are a little sick, but hopefully not terminal.
Here are five times our government/country/society rocked, just as a little reminder:
1. Abolishment of Slavery– Remember when human beings could be bought and sold, and they were treated with about as much respect as farm animals? Not a proud time for our country. Thank God there were enough people who were willing to stand up and say “this whole slavery shizz is whack” (an actual quote from the 1800’s, promise). It took a long time to completely abolish slavery, and while racism is still present in parts of the country, there are MANY more non-racist people than racist. We have come a very long way. Isn’t it amazing that just 143 years ago, President Obama could have been a slave in our country, yet now he is the leader of it? Amazing.
I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises.The great point is to bring them the real facts.
2. The End of World War II– May 7, 1945, the Germans surrendered and the whole world celebrated. Except for the non-allies. The photo below gives me chills, I cannot imagine the excitement and energy that everyone must have been experiencing in this picture. Without the inclusion of the US troops in this war, the Nazi occupation may have been victorious.
Today we may say aloud before an awe-struck world: We are still masters of our fate. We are still captain of our souls.
3. The Death of Osama Bin Laden– Much like the morning of September 11, 2001, the evening of May 2, 2011 will forever remain a vivid memory in my mind. I hate to list the murder of someone as one of the highlights of our country’s history, but it just is. Our Seal Team Six performed an incredible, impossible operation and escaped unharmed. Do you remember your feelings the night the news broke that he was dead? I’ll never forget it. I remember thinking this is what it feels like to have pride for your country. Also, I remember being really relieved that this was the President’s announcement, and not that a massive meteor was headed towards earth. The ambiguous “there will be an announcement from the President in ten minutes” interruption on the TV really sent my anxiety for a field day.
4. Supreme court rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional– This wasn’t a warm and fuzzy moment for those who were against it, but it was for me and millions of others. It was a sign of change and acceptance in our country, something that again made me proud to be an American. Still have a ways to go (especially in my home state of North Carolina), but we’re on our way.
When women got the vote, they did not redefine voting. When African-Americans got the right to sit at a lunch counter alongside white people, they did not redefine eating out. They were simply invited to the table. That is all we want to do; we have no desire to change marriage. We want to be entitled to not only the same privileges but the same responsibilities as straight people.
5. Moonwalker– I know, it seems a little cliche to add the US moon landing to this list, but it’s too remarkable to not add. It’s the moon, we sent a man there. Our country, the place we get to call home, we shot a man 238,855 miles into the sky, threw him onto a big mass where oxygen doesn’t exist, and he came back to tell us about it. It symbolizes so much more than just science and physics at work; to me it symbolizes hope. One of my favorite quotes is “don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” What is the “moon” in your life, why aren’t you reaching for it?