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Letter: Reflect on the liberties we Americans enjoy

I attended a hockey game recently at our local arena, and found myself once again getting a little emotional at the singing of the national anthem. In an age when it is vogue to cast stones upon national heritage I could not help but wonder how many visitors waited impatiently for the song to end.

I’d like to say that the Stars and Stripes was never meant to represent a plot of land, nor to signify the current political party over which it flies. Instead it embodies an ideal; that 13 separate colonies could unite together and possess a nation without being ruled by a king or tyrant. It waves in the air like a beacon, proclaiming to the earth that individual citizens can own the power of government. If we find ourselves straying from that past glory then it will be ours to account for among the generations that follow. We should never forget that others have already spent their fortunes, and their lives, building the foundation that we enjoy.

This nation was birthed like a scared and crying infant who had yet to experience the rigors of the world, but it was also a time when two people could meet up on the street and be proud to say, “I am an American.” Please, next time the national tune plays, reflect for just a moment on the liberties we enjoy and protect, rather than on the political excesses we endure.

Gerald P. Illies