Sweet, Sweet Land of Liberty!
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!
If you grew up in the United States, chances are you used to sing this song, “America,” regularly. I did. I grew up singing patriotic songs, and learning about our government. I grew up proud of our country. So very proud. And with a great love of our country, it’s people and it’s ideals.
I hope you had the opportunity to grow up the way I did. And I hope upon hope that today’s boys and girls grow up with the same ideals, the same beliefs, and the same love for our country.
I hope they will always speak glowingly about us. And if they don’t, I’ll fight to my last breath for their right to disagree. But still, I really hope they will love our country the way I do.
Author of Liberty, to Thee We Sing
No where else in the world will you find this combination of ideals, hopes and dreams. Of freedom and equality. Look around. There is a reason the whole world is dying to come here.
When my grandpa Charlie was a young man, he was in the Czar’s border guard. The Bolsheviks were taking over, and they were shooting the border guard for sport. My grandfather paid a man to hide him under the hay in the back of his wagon (this was 1917) and he made his way across the border into Poland, and then to America. Like most everyone back then, he came through Ellis Island, then joined a brother in North Carolina.
He was so proud to be an American. My dad told me they only spoke English in the house. And until the day he died, my father spoke the most correct English of anyone I have ever met. He used to correct us growing up. It was very important to him. My father served in the European theatre during World War Two, was injured, came home, and went to college on the GI Bill. He became a doctor, and from a childhood of abject poverty, was able to provide a great life for his children. He insisted that I be very well educated, and he instilled a love of country in me that has remained strong to this very day. Although he has been deceased for almost twenty years now, I can still hear his voice. He was a patriot, and in his lifetime, I never heard him speak an unkind word about anyone.
We seem to have come to a time in our country when we find it difficult to get along with others. Just remember, we all want the same things; we simply have different ways to get there. But we have one thing in common. One, very important thing.
We are Americans. Brothers and sisters, all. So together, during our Day of Independence, let us all join hands and unite. As the final verse of America calls to us,
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King!
About the author
Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. An EP3 Education Fellow, he uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. Charles is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, EdTech Digest and edCircuit. Unabashedly Southern, Charles likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.