The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Happy Birthday, America 2011

Elaine Slater Reese is a freelance writer in Spring Green, Wi. who grew up in Hancock County - near Bowen, Illinois

By Elaine Slater Reese

Well, America, it's your birthday again! I used to get so excited looking for the right card to send you in celebration of your special day. But the last few years, it has been more and more difficult to find just the right one.

I always looked for cards that were upbeat and congratulatory. But this year, my heart is heavy.

Tears fill my eyes each day as I listen to and read the news. I have seen you change through the years.

We know that change can be very good. But the time has come when I must speak the truth as I see it.

It is so ironic that what you represented - the land of the free - has over the years taken a path probably no one originally expected.

The wonderful freedom that each American had has now become an open door for each of us to insist on totally having OUR OWN WAY - "THE HECK WITH ANYONE ELSE! Things must be my way.

We have forgotten the premise of fairly studying both sides of a situation.

We have erased the words COURTESY AND POLITENESS from our vocabularies.

We elect our leaders from both parties without really studying what they stand for.

And then we are shocked at the laws they put upon us.

We sometimes joke about your condition today, America.

We often get into deep, loud conversations that produce nothing positive. We are a country truly divided.

And if we honestly look at the whole situation, most of the roots of the problems have to do with the moral condition of our society.


Some will shout in pride and agreement with that statement. Some of us will shake our heads in sadness and shame.

Somehow many today think that you were founded on freedom FROM religion.

They have not taken time to study the facts and realize that you were founded on freedom OF religion.

That simply means our forefathers risked their lives so that each of us could choose what we believe spiritually.

What we choose to believe spiritually has a great effect on our morals. Ask anyone over fifty how your morals, America, have changed in the last fifty years.

Increasing numbers will disagree with me. But God's word, the Holy Bible, tells me that HE will have the final judgment.

And He has given each of us our own free will to choose what we will believe. America, I want to believe in you - to believe that you are that great country I once knew.

But this year, there is no special card, no red, white, and blue decorated cake.

There is just reality.

This year, I will fly the American flag in memory of all those who gave so that we could be the land of the free. And this year, I will pray for you.

And I will try not to spend my time criticizing others, but I will sincerely do what I can do restore you to the great country you used to be.

Change has to start with me and with every other American.