The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

America's Birthday Present

By Elaine Slater Reese

Well, America, it's almost July 4th - your birthday again! Let's see - that will make you 233 years old. That certainly means a lot has happened in your lifetime. You have enjoyed the good and somehow survived the bad.

I grew up in a home, like many, where birthdays are a celebration. The day is focused on the birthday person. There are cards, a favorite cake or food, and gifts.  I have never taken the time to pick out a special gift for you, America. But this year, I am determined to give you something meaningful and lasting.

Obviously, I can't go to any store and purchase the perfect gift and mail it to you.  Your land is filled with such a melting pot of people. How can I possibly find a gift for this country? What can I give you that would be of real significance? What might touch your being, America?

If I were wealthy, I could contribute financially to some charities. If I were really educated, perhaps I could be a part of research that might change the medical world. If I were younger, I could take on projects, challenges that might make a real difference to many of your citizens.

As I read history books and marvel at your success stories and all the wars and issues and crises you have survived, I think anything I can give you will be so small, so unimportant in the whole picture. And as I do study your past and your many accomplishments, my heart becomes heavy. It appears to me you have been going in a direction so far from the values and morals you once held dear. Change and progress are often great. At other times, I wonder what is the cost?

I KNOW! I KNOW! I can give you a gift, America! It is from my heart and my soul - my being that truly cares about you. I give you the gift of my prayers- prayers for your leaders, your citizens, your land, your future. Please accept my gift, America. AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY 2009! I LOVE YOU!