My Fellow Compatriots,
I want to share a few thoughts of mine with you, as fellow patriots. On Tuesday we will all witness a historic event. Indeed, the first Black man becoming President of the United States is a momentous occasion in our country's history, but I will watch for another reason as well. Any man becoming President of the United States is a momentous occasion. I will be honest here, I did not vote for Mr. Obama. That was purely an ideological choice on my part. But I am not sorry he is President. He appears to be a good and earnest man, and I hope he serves the country well. I am proud that my nation -- so often divided by race -- could put that aside and show the world just how far this country has come. I wish only the best for the new President. He is not just "the" President. He is "my" President. He is "our" President. That doesn't mean we have to agree with him after he takes office. Dissent and debate are part of our history. There are Presidents I have not liked one bit and have even been disgusted with the way they acted in office. But they were still the President, and as a true patriot I would have gladly given my life to protect theirs and protect the office. One can be a patriot and still disagree, but in the end a patriot defends the sanctity of the nation.
I remember some inauguration from years past. Frankly, it could have been Reagan's or Bush 41's, or even Clinton's, I don't remember. But I will always remember what Peter Jennings, the commentator (and Canadian at that) for the station I was watching said. Shortly before the swearing in, he said, "What you are about to witness is the envy of the entire world. The free transfer of government." Those words have always stuck with me. And that is why I have always revered the swearing in of a President, regardless if I voted for that person or not. About 150 years ago there were a number of people who didn't like the results of the 1860 election, and as you know that election led to the secession of the South. Abraham Lincoln has been referenced much of late, and rightfully so. Lincoln ended slavery and saved the Union. But the subtlety of what he achieved is often lost, and is much deeper. It's about the nature of democracy. We as a nation cannot hold a popular election, and if some of us don't like the result choose to "opt out". Regardless of beliefs or ideology, we respect the outcome and acknowledge the leader of our nation. That, in my opinion, is Lincoln's greatest legacy. Many countries hold elections for presidents now. It isn't a novel thing anymore. But people who don't know history fail to realize that when polls opened in December 1788 it was a truly radical concept -- that a populace comprised of simple farmers, merchants and fishermen could actually govern themselves and choose who would be their leader. We often take that for granted today, but in the 18th-century it was unheard of. Yet, a group of men from an outpost of a great empire decided that they and their fellow citizens could decide their own destiny, and they were willing to give their lives for that ideal. And through their efforts they shook the foundation of world history.
We hold elections. We disagree. We fight. We argue. But in the end we acknowledge and accept the results. No palace coups. No bloody military takeovers. We respect our system of government and the system our forefathers in their infinite wisdom created. We swear in a new President. That is why I watch an Inauguration. That is why I am Patriot. That is what my ancestors fought for.
Gregg Branum President-Elect,
Alexander Hamilton Chapter
Indiana Society Sons of the American Revolution
This from Don Counts (an excellent photo collection of all U.S Presidents and you can click on their biographies): http://www.whitehouse.gov/slideshows/presidents/ and Don just sent me this link: http://www.bornagainamerican.org/ it is a patriotic song/video that is an excellent example how music has helped shape America.