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I love this country, warts and all

Maybe you’ve heard this, too, but I recall hearing the question asked on a couple of occasions: “Do other countries have the Fourth of July, too?”

Well, the simple answer to that question is, “Yes, if they use the Gregorian calendar.”

How long has July 4 been around? Again, since the invention of the Gregorian calendar in October 1582.

But July 4 as America’s Independence Day? The signing of the Declaration of Independence took place on July 4, 1776. Or July 2, if you go by the dates of the first signatures. Or Aug. 2, if you go by research from the majority of modern day historians.

The day after John Adams had signed the declaration — he signed it on July 2 — he wrote a letter to his wife Abigail about the event and predicted that the “second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. … 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

He was right for the most part, but wrong about the date that was chosen.

In 1777, the first celebration in anniversary of the signing was held July 4, with 13 gunshots each in the morning and evening in Bristol, Rhode Island.

We’ve been celebrating ever since.

Some people today don’t like America. Some hate it and everything it stands for. Some love it no matter what it stands for. I think the best option is somewhere in between.

I recently read a work of fiction where a character is criticized for being “patriotic.”

His response is that he is “exactly patriotic.”

“My country, right or wrong. Which means nothing, unless you admit your country is wrong sometimes,” he said. “Loving a country that was right all the time would be common sense, not patriotism.”

I love my country. I’m happy to have been born in America, and even more so to have been born in Mississippi. I love the South, too.

Does the South have problems? You bet it does.

Does America have problems? Seriously?

I don’t love everything that is happening or has happened in my country. But it is still my country. I get choked up when I see a funeral for a member of the Armed Forces, or see them get a medal. I get upset when the flag that represents our country isn’t treated with respect.

And I love apple pie, hot dogs and most other foods people would describe as distinctly “American.”

No, this country is not perfect, but I still see it as “one nation, under God,” because I am praying for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done in this nation.

I still see it as “indivisible,” because no matter our differences, we tend to come together as one when someone attacks us. It’s like the family attitude of “I can say what I want about my brother and hit him if I want to. You’d better leave him alone.”

I still see it as having “liberty and justice for all,” because we have the freedom still to say whatever inane thing we want, and justice eventually comes for everyone, in some manner.

But mostly I love this country because it is my home, the land of my birth, full of freedoms and opportunities. It’s my country.

Be safe as you celebrate the Fourth of July with family, neighbors and friends, and give thanks to God for the freedom to do so.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at 601-265-5307 or brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.