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Patriotic Article
By Warren Bonesteel

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Having a vision for our future, a dream for the future, if you will, affects every part of our lives. I'm talking about life as Americans in these United States of America. I sometimes think that we've lost our vision as a people and as a nation. We were born a people of explorers and of adventurers. We were born a people who sought freedom. Our ancestors sought freedom not only for themselves, but also for generations to come. Our ancestors were a people of deep and focused thought. They were a spiritual people, and they sought to worship the God of the Bible. They sought to be free from the Judeo-Christian tyrannies of a government that sought to force one type of “Christian” religion upon them. We were born of a people who sought to worship the God of the Bible, and who sought to worship Him freely. We are also a people who love knowledge. We not only study and learn, but we seek to fully understand those things that we learn. However, things like freedom, and the history of our freedom, we often take for granted.

We are a land predicated upon freedom and upon personal liberty. We are a land predicated upon the right of the individual to seek liberty and happiness. We are a people who sought, and who still seek, to be free from outside interferences by anyone, even from those in our own government. We are a land of individuality. We are a land of achievers. We are a land of people who take responsibility for our own achievements, as well as for our own failures. We have always been, however, a people who never give up. We never allow any thing to defeat us. We are a land of farmers; ranchers, pilgrims, merchants, teachers, warriors...and we are a land of the Bible.

Today, we have forgotten our beginnings. Instead of Americans having a shared vision for America, we have become a divided land. A land full of individuals and of groups, each of which has their own vision for their own individual futures. We are, however, a land that once had an immutable vision for us all...a vision that we all once shared. This is a truly American vision, a vision that has been overlooked, if not altogether lost. It is now a vision that went from looking outwardly, towards the future, to looking inwardly, to see only the here and the now. We are a land that has become ensconced in retrospection (and that only negatively) instead of a land of introspection. We have become a land of fleshly desires, instead of a land of spiritual, outward reaching, and forward looking glory. We can get that vision back, if we will. Or we can look for a new vision. We cannot seek the vision shared by anarchists, socialists or deconstructionists, with all of their many empty promises. Therein lies certain self-immolation. Nor do we need the empty pursuit of wealth, for wealth's sake alone, in order to replace that which we need. Therein lies certain destruction. There is a vision that we need as a people. It is a vision that we need as desperately as a drowning man needs to be saved.

Over the past few years, while “just visitin' over coffee inna mornin',” I have shared a glimpse of that vision with many people in this nation. It has been my great honor and privilege to do so. I have shared with them a vision of inner peace, and of spiritual and emotional prosperity. I have shared a way of looking at things that is most certainly different than what many are used to. I have attempted to put into words what others could only think, fleetingly, in the midst of their busy lives. I have tried to openly say things that so many of us are afraid to voice before others, even to those who are most intimate to us. Among these many things that I have shared is Hope. I have attempted to share hope for the future, as well as hope for the present. I have tried to impart hope for you, and to show you how to hope for others. I have often shared with you some few ways of achieving that hope. I have shared with you many and several ways to share that hope with those around you.

This hope that I share is based in our shared history, our shared destiny, our shared knowledge, and our shared mythology as a people, and as a nation. There is hope in the midst of the worst of disasters. There is, of course, hope in the midst of the best and the most wonderful of successes. There is the hope that we see in a child's innocent laughter. We see and hear hope for the future in the leaves of fall, as they change colors, and rattle dryly on the trees, in the chill winds of fall. Hope that is not born of fear that winter will be here soon, but the hope that is in the knowledge that spring will come once again. It is the hope that we see in the new grown grasses of spring. It is the hope that we share when we say and hear the Pledge of Allegiance. It is the hope that we know to be true in the words of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. It is the history of our nation that is contained in our symbols, the tombs of the unknown soldiers, the flag of these United States of America, the eagle in flight. This hope is even contained in the fireworks that we share as a nation on the Fourth of July. A day when we celebrate our freedom with displays representing the cost of that freedom. Fire in the sky, and on the ground, while we drink our soft drinks and eat our hot dogs...freely, without fear, and in peace.

There is hope eternal in the words to our national anthem. They are words and music that fill our hearts, and bring tears of wonder, and of joy. It is an anthem of the shared vision of hope that we have in our hearts, for the future of this nation. It is a song and a prayer and an intercession made before God and man. It is a song that unifies us in a shared wonder of majesty and of hope . . . A God given hope. It is a shared wonder at our past, and of the awe inspiring sacrifices made by those who've gone before us...sacrifices made for us, their future. Investments made for us, in time, lives, money, and in treaties with other lands. Investments made when they themselves would never see the full harvest of their efforts. They made investments in their future and in their vision. It was and is a vision of hope for the future. Such investments were made not for them, who lived in our past, but were made for those of us, who are their future. They made investments in a vision. They made an investment in the future. They made an investment in hope. We are that hope.

Let us make those same investments today. Let us once again find our hope for the future. If it requires sacrifice, let us make those sacrifices willingly. If it requires investments, let us make those investments willingly. If it requires our time, let us use it wisely and well, knowing that everything that we do is not just for the here and now, to benefit you and I only, but that we do so in order to benefit the future. Let our investment be as noble as theirs, an investment for the future not only of my children and of yours, but also for the children and the grandchildren of those who live today, and for those to follow after us. Let us build this path of hope so that they may clearly follow it. Let us build that path of hope for the future. Let us build it together as one nation, under God, and indivisible.

Our hope began with the desires in the hearts and minds of men much like you and I. Those hopes were written down on a piece of parchment, The Declaration of Independence. Our hope, our future, was given to us freely and at great cost, and written on another piece of parchment, The Constitution of the United States of America. Those pieces of parchment, those heart's desires, those thoughts of freedom; that care for the future, that hope, that vision, came at great price and cost for those men. Men much like you and I. Let us be like those men who wrote their vision on pieces of parchment, and then signed their names for all to see. They signed a contract with the future. They signed a contract of hope. They signed a contract with God. They signed a contract with you and I. They all paid a cost for that hope, individually, and as a group. A cost that they did not think was too high to bear...not only for the future of their children and grandchildren, but also for the future of all Americans to follow.

Let us not waste their sacrifice. Let us not waste their very great gift to us by instigating divisions, and by sowing strife among us. Let us not forget the future of America and of freedom. Let us not forget the price that was paid by men, now long dead. They paid a dear price for the hope of the future. They sacrificed for the future that you and I live daily, in often-unconscious mimicry and parody of their hopes and dreams and sacrifice. Let us now know, that any and all who desecrate those pieces of parchment from our past, have also desecrated hope. They have desecrated not only our present vision of America; they have also desecrated the hopes, lives, sacrifices, and the sacred honor of the men who came before us and gave all...only for hope and the future . . . men who gave all for the likes of you and me.

Let us now embrace their dream as our own. Let us now embrace their hope as our own. Let us now begin anew that which has brought us thus far into history. May we not disappoint those who went before us in this nation. May we hold their sacred honor precious. May we hold their vision for us precious. Let us not waste it upon those who do not dream. Let us not waste it upon those who do not see. Let us not waste it upon those who do not believe in freedom. Let us not waste it on those who are not willing to sacrifice their comforts, here and now, for tomorrow's freedom. Let us embrace our freedom to hope for the future. This is an American vision. This is the American Dream. Anything else is a lie, and denies us our right to our past, and denies the honor of those who came before us. It denies us our honor. It denies America. It denies Americans.

A land without hope for the future is a land without honor. It is a land without a vision. What is your vision? Not for you and for you alone, or for those others like you. What is your vision for America, and for the future of this nation? It is my hope that your vision is a vision of hope for your children, for your grandchildren, and for the children of others. The children of America... our future lies in our own hands this very day. What shall our future be? Is our vision one of failed unity, and of division that is offered to us by others? Do you accept a vision of failed hope? If so, it is your vision. It was not the one given you by those Americans who came before you. Or do you have a vision of one America? One hope! One honor! It is a shared hope that contains the consideration of others, not yet born. It is a shared consideration of generations to come, and of hope not yet dreamed of.

Is your hope fallen into violence, and evil words and deeds against all who oppose your little part of America, and the little piece of it that you live in? Or is your hope that of a future of prosperity and peace for every true American's child...and the children and the grandchildren of Americans to come? It will not always be easy, but we can do it. We can become once again a land with a vision. Such a land, a land with a vision of hope for the future, will never suffer defeat.

Warm up your coffee ladies and gentlemen. Consider the day ahead. Prepare for it, in hope for the future, a now and future hope... that lies with you.
Warren Bonesteel
Copyright 2004

Former Sgt. USMC (1976-1983), who is now an author and Ezine columnist for "Morning Coffee".

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