by Brian Wilson for FOX Fan Central
I am reading a fascinating book right now, one of those books that doesn't take long to read but may take years to truly absorb. It is a collection of the writings of Thomas Jefferson, assembled by Eric Petersen, entitled Light and Liberty: Reflections on the Pursuit of Happiness. Eleven pages in, I found words which hit me square between the eyes. They seem appropriate on this holiday as America celebrates its birthday during what many might consider challenging times.
Thomas Jefferson was an optimist, and I think he had a good fix on the American people — then and now. Consider these thoughts:
Thomas Jefferson in letter to Martha Jefferson. March 28, 1787
Jefferson is talking here about something that often goes overlooked: the resolve of the American people. Who could ever forget how the country united following the 9/11 attacks? We may have our differences in the political arena, but our history is replete with examples of how the American people rise to a challenge when presented.
I first noticed this years ago when I covered the Oklahoma City bombing. The good people of the Sooner State came together within minutes of that disaster. Any time I have reported on disaster or calamity, I have always been struck at how quickly people adapt to the crisis, set their collective jaws and take to the task of rebuilding. It is one of the things that makes me proud that I am an American.
So as we pause to honor the anniversary of the birth of our country, let us also pay tribute to the real strength of this Republic — the people -— who enjoy the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" — thanks, in part to Mr. Jefferson.
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