Last year, as I was contemplating what to write about on the 4th of July, I came upon an article titled, Down on the Fourth of July: The United States of Gloom, on the London Daily Telegraph’s website, written by Tony Harnden, their U.S. Editor. Mr. Harnden presented a synopsis of the state of our country and came to the following conclusion:
On this day in 1776 a group of 13 colonies broke away to found a new nation free to govern itself as it saw fit, pledging that each citizen would have the unalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. A nation, as Americans are apt to declare without equivocation, which became the greatest on the face of the earth.
That’s the good news. On the flip side, however, a country whose hallmark has always been a sense of irrepressible optimism is in the grip of unprecedented uncertainty and self-doubt.
With the United States mired in three foreign wars, beaten down by an economy that shows few signs of emerging from deep recession and deeply disillusioned with President Barack Obama, his Republican challengers and Congress, the mood is dark.
The last comparable Fourth of July was probably in 1980, when there was a recession, skyrocketing petrol prices and an Iranian hostage crisis, with 53 Americans being held in Tehran.
…The 2010 mid-term elections showed that the Tea Party movement, drawing its small-government, low-tax inspiration from the revolutionaries who overthrew the British, was a phenomenon that could turn American politics upside down.
Previous elections had been about choosing the lesser of two evils but 2010 was about throwing the bums out. Luntz, a Republican, predicts that 2012 will be a “none of the above” contest. What is needed above all is optimism: it is a prerequisite for the risk-taking needed to invest and start new businesses. Its absence could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy as belief in American decline helps ensure that the halcyon years are indeed in the past.
The 1980 election was won by Ronald Reagan with his “Morning in America” message. Today, a 10ft bronze statue of Reagan will be unveiled outside the US Embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square, which, in another sign of the times, is due to move to Battersea next year because of concerns about its vulnerability to terrorists. Thus far, there is no sign of a new Reagan emerging.
More worryingly, the optimism he embraced and came to personify is all but absent in America this Fourth of July.
Pretty depressing, huh?
Mr. Harden did have a point.
Yes, even to this day, America’s populace is still struggling through the worst economic situation our country has seen since the Great Depression. Approximately 20% of our countrymen are unemployed, underemployed, or have just plain given up. One-sixth of our nation has to rely on assistance from our government just to have food on the table, while remaining under the governance of a president who worships a Far Left political ideology steeped in the redistribution of wealth teachings of Karl Marx and Saul Alinsky.
Americans have watched, feeling helpless, as he and his self-centered minions in Congress took our tax dollars and spent all of it and then some, as if there was no tomorrow, leaving our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with a debt that this shining city on a hill may never recover from.
We’ve watched, with our mouths hanging wide open, as the President of the United States and his State Department, have reached out to embrace the very barbarians that want to murder each and every one of us, while at the same time, criticizing and alienating our closest allies.
And, on this 4th of July, in the year of our Lord 2012, our Supreme Court, filled with supposedly wise Jurists, has upheld a socialist taxation that, if left to stand, will bankrupt our nation…and the hand-picked GOP Nominee seems to be reticent to fight on our behalf.
However, even now, I do not subscribe to Mr. Harnden’s assessment of gloom and doom. Rather, I stand with this man who embodied the American Spirit that is beginning to awaken across this blessed land.
Gen. Anthony Clement McAuliffe is best remembered for uttering a single word — no mean feat, considering that even the shortest Bible verse has two. Commanding the U.S. Army’s beleaguered and surrounded 101st Airborne Division during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, McAuliffe received a German surrender ultimatum. “Nuts!” he replied, and became a lasting symbol of American courage and determination under fire.
A 1918 West Point graduate, McAuliffe held various field artillery positions before World War II. On the eve of D-Day, McAuliffe jumped with the first wave as a commander of division artillery, although he had never received formal parachute training.
In December 1944, during the siege of Bastogne, Belgium, McAuliffe was acting commander of the 101st in Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor’s absence. The Americans had been holding the Belgian town “at all costs,” and on Dec. 22, Gen. McAuliffe received the encouraging news that the 4th Armored Division was beginning its drive north to relieve the 101st. Later that morning, members of the division’s glider regiment saw four Germans coming up the road carrying a white flag. Everyone hoped they were offering surrender. Instead, they presented two pages demanding the Americans’ surrender: “To the USA Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne. . .There is only one possibility. . .the honorable surrender of the encircled town.”
McAuliffe glanced at the message and said, “Aw, nuts!” When he told his commanders he didn’t know what answer to send, Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard said ‘That first crack you made would be hard to beat, General.” Everyone laughed as a sergeant typed up the succinct response: “To the German Commander: Nuts! The American Commander.”
Between this stoic reply, Patton’s troops from the south, and a change in the weather that allowed air reinforcement the following day, the 101st was able to hold Bastogne. Their victory resulted in the first full-Division Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation.
McAuliffe’s actions at Bastogne helped assure the final defeat of the Germans. Gen. McAuliffe continued to serve on active duty, including assignments as Head of the Army Chemical Corps, Commander, 7th Army, and Commander-In-Chief of the U.S. Army, Europe, until his 1956 retirement. He died in Washington, D.C. in 1975 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
In the opinion of this 53-year-old, sitting in the Northwest corner of the Magnolia State in America’s Heartland, the current administration and Mr. Harden have underestimated the American Spirit, just as King George and the British Aristocracy did, so many years ago.
As our enemies, both foreign and domestic, have discovered since the birth of our nation, Americans will fight for our freedom. And we shall prove it again, this coming November, with an electoral explosion of nuclear magnitude, which shall make November 2010 seem like a firecracker in comparison.
May God Bless you and your family on this 4th of July, the Year of Our Lord, 2012, and may God Bless America.