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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Celebrating America's heritage

Uploaded: Jul 5, 2022
How delightful it feels today, July 4th, as I write this blog for Tuesday to see that America is again celebrating its birthday with gusto.
We are in Central Oregon, enjoying clear views of snow-capped Cascade Range with Mt. Bachelor, Three Sisters and Broken Top on full display. When we were last here in September 2017, the wildfires and the resulting smoke had been so bad all summer that we never saw the gorgeous mountain views that this area is famed for our entire stay. Today will be in the mid-70s with some clouds in clear blue skies.
The several Central Oregon cities all have public events---parades, family gatherings and fireworks displays set for 10 p.m. tonight. On the television, the traditional Boston Pops, Macys New York City, and Capitol 4th are all scheduled for broadcast.
Covid-19 mutated variants are still around, but the public, for the most part, has moved on. Inflation is running rampant—the Biden Administration bragged last year that the 4th of July barbeque was 16 cents cheaper—no comment this year that it’s 17%--not cents-- more expensive. In other words, if it was $50 last year, it’s $58.50 this year and that’s not including the gas to get there that has more than doubled in price.
Driving up here on Saturday we passed through thunderstorms complete with more lightening than I remember seeing in my lifetime—it was all playing out through the windshield although the deluges were so heavy at times that it required full speed on the windshield wipers and slower speeds on the highway to move through it.
That long drive provided plenty of time for podcasts and my wife played one that included John Adams’ letter to his wife Abigail written during the Second Continental Congress in 1776 in Philadelphia.
He wrote, ““The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
He missed on the date because it look longer than he anticipated to prepare the document for signature. The commentator pointed out that the United States is unique among democratic republics that it has an anniversary that is approaching its 250th celebration in four years. He asked can you say when China started or Great Britain? Former colonies celebrate the dates they were granted freedom.
America’s road to freedom was formalized on July 4, 1776 although the eight-year Revolutionary War had started with the British invasion and the battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775.
So, I hope you celebrated joyfully our nation, as bitterly divided as it seems these days, on our strong common heritage that should still bind us together.
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Posted by Rich Buckley, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 5, 2022 at 9:20 am

Rich Buckley is a registered user.

Jan and I celebrated the evening of the 4th watching the Lewis and Clark, two disk episodes, by Ken Burns. We listened to the fireworks from our home.

Once you are drawn into the inspired mission of Thomas Jefferson's vision and insights, you realize how profoundly important Lewis and Clark's expedition remains to this day.

Burns causes the viewer to look inward and examine the self without external judgment.

The viewer can not help but sense a higher hand is constantly at work then and now shaping a new nation.

This sense of timelessness cracks open a sliver of understanding into the spirit of our nation during the signing of The Declaration of Independence ... freedom, liberty, prosperity... Captain Clark reluctantly, eventually granted freedom to his personal slave, York, who Clark took on the 45 person expedition, adding and loosing persons along the way, where every soul on the expedition including Sacagawea and slave York, eventually was given a vote on how to get back home and report their success to Jefferson. The hardships suffered slowly forged a team out of the expedition through actions 100+ years ahead of their time.

God's hand is seen over and over. Most dramatically the entire expedition was starving to death, eating +- 200 calories a day, entering winter, in need of horses to cross the unexpected Rockies, when this 17 year old mother, carrying her toddler, recognized Beaver Head rock on the old tribal territory she had been kidnapped from as a child. Her tribe had horses to spare.

The thing I was most surprised on hearing was the comment these outdoorsman and frontiersman were regularly use to eating 9-pounds(!) of beef per day (10,500 calories, plus whiskey, and tobacco).

Posted by Janice Young, a resident of another community,
on Jul 6, 2022 at 7:14 am

Janice Young is a registered user.

“The viewer cannot help but sense a higher hand is constantly at work then and now shaping a new nation...God's hand is seen over and over."

Where was God when the Donner Party was crossing the High Sierra? Did he intervene to prevent the slaughter of countless Native Americans and the reckless plundering of their lands? Was he OK with the theft of the Hawaiian Islands?

If Manifest Destiny was truly God's vision for a new nation, some questions remain unanswered.

Posted by Alan Baker, a resident of another community,
on Jul 6, 2022 at 8:12 am

Alan Baker is a registered user.

> ...the spirit of our nation during the signing of The Declaration of Independence...Once you are drawn into the inspired mission of Thomas Jefferson's vision and insights,

^ Thomas Jefferson was a white plantation slaveowner who emphasized that all men (excluding the black populace) were created equally.

This enlightened 'vision' along with the subsequent Civil War, southern Jim Crow laws, and ongoing civil rights movement gave significant rise to the racial issues/problems we are still experiencing today.

Posted by Phyllis Bentley, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jul 6, 2022 at 9:21 am

Phyllis Bentley is a registered user.

• "God's hand is seen over and over."

Why should God receive all the credit for positive occurances while not assuming any responsibility for the bad ones that still occur?

And let's not forget his ongoing wrath and condemnation of the LGBTQ community as spelled out in the Old Testament.

Does God have favorite children? If so, why didn't he intervene during the Holocaust?

The bottom line is that humans create their destiny by their own actions and there is no such thing as devine intervention or blessings.

Posted by Josh Fitzgerald, a resident of another community,
on Jul 6, 2022 at 9:37 am

Josh Fitzgerald is a registered user.

Speaking of July 4th, God was nowhere near Highland Park that day to intervene or at Uvalde, Buffalo, or Columbine among other countless human tragedies.

God did not create man. Man created god(s) as chronicled throughout the annals of history.

People are the ones who commit both good deeds and evil actions.

Let's give credit where credit is due.

Posted by DublinMike, a resident of Dublin,
on Jul 6, 2022 at 10:33 am

DublinMike is a registered user.

"The bottom line is that humans create their destiny by their own actions and there is no such thing as divine intervention or blessings." and "God did not create man. Man created god(s) as chronicled throughout the annals of history.

People are the ones who commit both good deeds and evil actions."


Posted by Giselle Hawkins, a resident of Danville,
on Jul 6, 2022 at 2:41 pm

Giselle Hawkins is a registered user.

I celebrated my American heritage on a beach in Maui and as I always do on Thanksgiving, I gave a personal and private thanks for the blessings I have been endowed with (inherited family wealth, good health, and physical attractiveness).

I cannot credit God for these blessings but rather my ancestors who worked hard, invested wisely, and only married physically attractive mates.

Posted by Michael Austin , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 7, 2022 at 7:13 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Science points to life as material not supernatural. Life is a purely natural phenomenon, and who we really are is material and dependent on the workings of the brain.

Being religious does not guarantee happiness or success. One does not have to be religious to live moral life. Religion is a crutch. Without it there would be extraordinary moral decay.

Posted by Theo Layne, a resident of another community,
on Jul 7, 2022 at 7:49 am

Theo Layne is a registered user.

July 4th is also a day to celebrate and reaffirm our independence from religion-based subjugation.

The recent turn of events in the SCOTUS are being heavily influenced by religious dogma targeting abortion rights and LGBTQ lifestyles.

We do not need another Inquisition.

Keeping God out of the picture is critical as separation of church and state is clearly spelled out in the Constitution.

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