God Bless America!
by Stephen Doherty
March 22nd, 2020
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage,
on imagination and an unbeatable determination to
do the job at hand.” –Harry Truman
Throughout history, America’s finest hours have come courtesy of its greatest challenges, setbacks, and un-anticipated disasters. We, as a people, have always been defined by how we responded to impossible situations, unsolvable problems, and insurmountable obstacles. We have been great friends to those around the world in need and the worst enemy imaginable to those wishing us ill. Alex De Tocqueville’s words are as true today as they were when he wrote them, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good-she shall cease to be great!”
We have been a beacon of liberty and freedom since our founding. One can only imagine the overwhelming dark evil that would have long ago enveloped the globe if not for a strong and righteous America. A weary but giddy Winston Churchill once said of America in 1941, with a sigh of relief, as he was told that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor-thus thrusting America into the Pacific and European theater, “Tonight, for the first time since this conflict began-I will sleep soundly and comfortably…secure in the knowledge that the Americans are coming!” It’s just who we are. It’s just what we do. It’s how we roll.
Being a student of history, it is hard to comprehend the level of destruction, loss, and personal sacrifice that we have endured. Whether it be the bloodshed of our founding, the horror of our own Civil War, two World Wars that included Pearl Harbor, the Great Depression, 9-11, the Great Recession-the one common theme underscoring all of our strife was the willingness to sacrifice the necessary blood and treasure in pursuit of a higher calling-the common good of humanity and the preservation of our Republic.
John F Kennedy said it best at his Inauguration, ” In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
As I write this today, I am hunkered down in my home under voluntary quarantine in an attempt to avoid infection by the Chinese CoronaVirus. In a few short weeks, this ravaging illness has expanded from a small town in China into a global pandemic. We have witnessed one of the greatest economies in American history–collapse overnight under the weight of nationally driven business closures and self-isolation of our populace. Within weeks, thousands of businesses will have collapsed and millions of Americans will have lost their livelihoods as the government strives to keep the nation from collapsing. America has become a ghost town overnight as we have sought refuge from the germs behind closed doors and shuttered businesses.
To me, the outcome of this catastrophe should be predictable–America prevails and we move on-again-stronger and more united than ever. But sadly, we don’t have America’s Greatest Generation to rely on this time around. We have a deeply divided nation more adept at pointing fingers than solving problems. Add in social media and you’ve given every fool and malcontent a bullhorn instead of a shovel. I pray that I’m wrong and that the national character of our proud history comes to our rescue and that we once again persevere and thrive. I’m relying on the fact that there are still enough people left who remember who and what we are…and have always been, to see us through yet again.
And it never hurts to say a prayer or two…
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me
there lay an invincible summer!” –Albert Camus