We Are One Nation

I’ve written to you often about my faith, my family and over time, I have unraveled some tales of my life.

However, I don’t think I’ve given an adequate look at the love I have for my country and the patriotism that burns in my heart.

I am an American. Proudly, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America.

When Old Glory is folded up, I stand upright until it is finished. I sing the National Anthem any chance I get.

I love my country. I love what it was founded upon, the freedom it has provided for many and I believe the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence are two of the most beautiful and truthful documents I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

I believe that we, the people of the United States, have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” as the Declaration of Independence states.

On Sunday morning, the rights of my fellow Americans were infringed upon and their right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was horrifically and senselessly extinguished.

In a gay club in Orlando, Florida, it has been reported that 49 people were killed, and yet another 53 people were maimed.

I’m not asking for another politically fueled debate about gun rights or terrorism. I’m not asking for a grandstanding speech from a politician.

I’m not even asking for your opinion on what happened.

I’m just asking that we take a minute and reflect on what I just mentioned above.

1) America is the Land of the Free, the Home of The Brave and my homeland that I love dearly. It stands for liberty and unalienable God-given rights that many have fought for and died to protect.

2) Approximately 102 people went to a night club in Orlando, Florida, and exercised their rights as free people. Instead, they ended up dead or maimed.

Those two things don’t go together.

Those two things don’t belong anywhere near one another, at least not in the America I know and love.

We are not free if we cannot feel free to go to a night club, my friends. We are not free if we do not feel safe enough to attend church, to see a movie in a theatre or go to school.

That is not the freedom that our founding fathers were writing about.

These people went to one of the only places they felt comfortable. They went to dance, perhaps meet a friend or even have a drink.

They did not deserve to die.

This gunman thought himself judge and jury to these poor people and spilt their blood on the soil of the land I love.

These people had names. They had jobs. They had dreams.

They wished, they thought, they breathed the night air and looked wearily into the sky on nights when they couldn’t sleep.

These people had ideas and solutions, homes and pets.

They had families and friends, favorite coffee cups and magazine subscriptions.

They had prayers and hopes, they had sadness and suffering.

They had pasts and presents. They had futures that were suddenly cut off due to the horrific events of Sunday morning.

Even though I don’t know them I know what they are not.

They are not a platform for anyone to step on.

Before we get into the political back and forth, I pray that we can simply take a moment to look at their faces, remember their names and mourn the fact that they are gone.

On 9/11, I remember going home and seeing that the television was on. I remember seeing my parents faces fall as they watched in horror that the World Trade Center had been attacked.

Even though I was young at the time, I remember a strong sense of community being built in the aftermath. A community that spread as far and wide as the U.S.

I don’t recall hearing debates on whether or not the people who perished in that tragic day deserved to die. I don’t recall hearing a whole lot of debate on anything, but I do remember hearing a whole lot of love and compassion.

I remember benefit concerts, firefighters and emergency service personnel digging through the rubble to save people and speeches which tied us all together.

Despite the differences in our beliefs, our opinions and the fabrics of our lives, Americans came together to pick up the pieces and charge forward into the unknown.

In those days, we were indeed “one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

Can we do that again, Nation? Can’t we come together and realize that an attack on any one of our brethren in this United States is an attack on us all?

Can we mourn together, pick up the pieces and support one another?

That, my friends, is the America I know and love.

That is the freedom and the beauty that our forefathers were writing about.

Let us be once again one nation under God.