This week I interviewed a wonderful American.
She was born and raised in Australia.
Joy Baase of New Castle, Indiana is in her 90s, and our chat was about a story unrelated to this blog post. But during the course of the interview, we talked about many things, including how she is an English (Aussie) World War II bride, coming to her late husband's hometown to make a life together after the war.
We talked about her full life, which is still filled with faith, love, humor -- and patriotism.
Joy became an American citizen in 1953. And in her beautiful Queen's English accent, she recited The American's Creed by heart.
I am embarrassed to tell you that I did not know we had this beautiful statement of who we are. Did you? It took an immigrant to tell me, and I will forevermore be grateful.
Its original elements came from Thomas Jefferson, but it wasn't until 1918 that the creed, formally a U.S. House of Representatives resolution, was passed. The statement was penned by William Tyler Page in a contest displaying patriotism.
On this Memorial Day weekend, when we flippantly wish someone a "Happy Memorial Day," and perhaps enjoy a day away from the 9 to 5, I'm taking time to think about these words, about how no matter what an individual may think about any particular elected official, to consider that our great nation is so much bigger than any combination of temporary leaders.
It is founded on the blood of Americans who died for the freedoms we routinely take for granted. It is to them we owe our everyday, walking-around, going-doing-and- saying-what-we-please lives.
I will apologize to no one for loving this nation, its liberty, and its greatness, proven over and over in the words of the U.S. Constitution, which endures. May it endure forever.
Here is The American's Creed. Would you repeat it with me?
The American's Creed
I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon these principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.