Happy 4th of July

Today is America’s birthday, a day we, as Americans, set aside to celebrate the beginnings of our country. As a child I always loved this holiday, it meant family, food, fireworks and lots of cousins. As I became older I love this holiday for completely different reasons, love of country, an understanding that the first Testerman that came here fought in the War if Independence.

Thomas Testerman, the name evokes great emotion within my family, he is our founder, our reason for being here, in this country. He fought for the freedom of this country from England, I am not only proud to be an American, I am proud to come from such a lineage.

I would love to go to Virginia and walk on the lands he walked on, to see the sunrise over the places he made his home. I think back, on my family line and I am in awe of the people I come from.

You see, they were fighters, they were settlers and they epitomized what it is to be an American. Since Thomas fought in the first war this country had, the birth of a nation, there has been a member of the Testerman family fighting for the continued freedom of this county. We are, as a collective, very proud to be American, we gladly serve, we happily fly the flag of our forefathers.

This land that we call home and have called home for over 200 years is very special to me, I was raised to give my loyalty to her. To take a stand, make a mark, to stand up for people who cannot stand for themselves. To pledge allegiance to the flag, the very symbol of our land, our freedoms we enjoy, that at times we take for granted.

I have seen on Facebook and other social media outlets where people are saying they want the old America back. I am confused by this, we have to continue to move forward, we have to continue to grow and build. Not go back.

To go back means certain people would not enjoy inalienable rights, I was speaking about this with my friend Wanda the other day. Please allow me to expound on the thought, not too long ago, in America, it would have been impossible for myself and Wanda to enjoy a friendship. It was in fact, illegal, as she is African American and I am Caucasian. In the 50’s and 60’s she would have been relegated to an all black community and I would have been a housewife, property of my husband. If I dared think about divorce he could keep the children, he had the right to beat me because I was his property. Not too long ago in America’s past…

I would not enjoy the job I have, the right to write these thoughts down, because I am a woman. Wanda would have had a double whammy, a woman, and a different skin color, the only jobs available to her would have been cleaning, cooking or caring for children. Not a lot of options.

The 1970’s saw a little reprieve, women were more in the workforce, still relegated to secretary, nurse, operator or childcare. But Wanda and I could be acquaintances, not really friends yet, because the neighborhoods were still very much segregated in parts of the country.

The 1980’s now that’s when it all began to blend, in a lot of the country, still not some, that’s when we could really venture out, we could rise in the ranks and we could have a community that was truly a community.

I have to admit, I first saw that in Texas, when we moved to Plano, in 1988, we moved to a neighborhood that had all kinds of people. We were almost all transplants from across the country and it was glorious. At that point I truly saw the melting pot, we were together and we were all Americans.

Today there is great conflict in this country and it is threatening to divide us again, I would ask, on this day, the birth of our Nation. Remember how far we have come, love one another as you love yourself, you cannot be a good neighbor to the person on one side and hate the other side.

Skin color is, well, skin deep, remember what we have fought for.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence  promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 

 

 

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