I Love You, America
Is it because of the parades and fireworks and Fourth of July celebrations my parents took me to as a kid? Or maybe the dozens upon dozens of weekend trips to historical sites and battlefields and museums my parents prioritized visiting when my brothers and I were young? Perhaps it's the beauty of our flag, the heart-swelling magic of our national anthem, or simply growing up in the land of the free that most influenced me to love you, America.
The reason doesn't matter. Love's origin is not as important as its strength, vitality, and allegiance.
I’ve seen your tall mountains and rolling hills; your oceans and rivers and streams; your flat plains and your dry, hot deserts. Countless times, I’ve walked your hallowed grounds, driven your endless highways, and admired your vast face from airplane windows.
Ten years ago today you were wounded. Your precious people killed and injured, your freedoms assailed, your strength challenged.
I was in my office one block from the White House the morning terrorists attacked you. The pain, the sadness—they only got worse as the day wore on. Three thousand, six hundred and fifty days later, you are not yet healed, but you are stronger.
And we are stronger.
Love is give and take, and I do take from you, America. But I also give.
I give you my loyalty, my faith, my unshakable confidence in the deep-seated kindness of all people who inhabit your land. For there is something in you, something that transfers from earth to human, that soothes the deepest pain, softens the hardest hearts, and renews the weariest spirits.
Thank God for you, America. On this day of remembrance, I wish you peace.