FOCUS: Proud to be an American


I have a habit of tearing articles out of magazines when I feel they are right on the mark of what is challenging in today’s world. I was sorting out some articles I have kept over the years and found this article from Family Circle which was published July 16, 2002. This article is just perfect for this week. I did not write it. However, it is so good, I wanted to share it with those who read my column. These are “Words to live by” and the writer is Bette-Jane Raphael. She wrote them twenty years ago and we really need to hear them now.

“Proud to be an American” “Words to live by”

I will teach my children everything I believe in, so that I may instill in them a desire to safeguard the ideals-and the future- of America.

I will abide by our country’s laws, including those I do not agree with, even as I work to change them.

I will judge each person on his own merits-regardless of his race, religion or cultural identity-understanding that a tolerance for others’ differences is at the heart of what it means to be an American.

I will keep myself informed of current events, realizing that this is the best way I can prepare myself to tackle the issues that concern us as a nation.

I will vote whenever I am eligible to do so, aware that by exercising my right to make myself heard I am implementing the most basic tenet of democracy.

I will be fair and honest when dealing with others, in the belief that dishonesty tears at the fabric of our society and is an abuse of our cherished freedoms.

I will be kind and courteous to my fellow citizens, convinced that courtesy is catching, and that when we are all courteous to one another, life is an infinitely more rewarding experience.

I will respect and conserve our country’s natural resources, keeping in mind that when I sap America’s riches, I sap her strength as well.

I will stand up for the things I believe in, at the same time taking care not to trample on the right of those who believe differently.

I will aid those in need-giving not only of my resources, but of myself- so that I can help strengthen in others the sense of hope that draws people from around the world to our nation’s shores.

Written by: Bette-Jane Raphael in July 2002

I feel that now is the time for us to come together for the good of our country. There is so much anger and violence taking place and until we begin communicating and making decisions on what is best for America, we will continue losing the most important gift we have, the right of freedom of speech. When we lose our right to speak, we lose our freedom which is the reason America was founded. This article was written by a person who shared how she felt and what she gave as the path that should be taken to keep our nation the way it was meant to be. What she shared in 2002 is true today twenty years later.

I believe we need to pray for God to save America so we can once again be free to speak, to follow the rules of our Constitution and to once again live in the United States of America which was founded as One Nation Under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all. This article that I found gives us the groundwork to do so. Bette-Jane Raphael truly has given us “Words to Live By”

This past week has been a celebration of America and those who worked so hard to make this nation unique with a Constitution for Government of the people, by the people and for the people. America is special and we need to be proud of our country and we need to keep the freedom to use our voices when we wish to speak. We need God in our country. We need the freedom to attend church, to teach our children, to vote our choices in elections. We also need to be aware of issues that are being discussed. We need to listen to both sides of an issue and make the decision which is best for all.

I leave you with these thoughts, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. … Mother Teresa shared this! “Spread love everywhere you go; first of all, in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, and to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better or happier. Be the living experience of God’s kindness: kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in a warm greeting.”

You can make a difference. I can make a difference. We can make a difference when we work together. Yes, we can be proud to be Americans when we put our animosity aside and work together to find a balance for meeting the needs of all. Isn’t that what our founding fathers did when they founded this great country of the United States of America?

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