A Birthday Letter to Malia

Dear Malia,

Happy Birthday! I, too, am a “firecracker” or “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” What a GREAT day we share for a birthday. I just thought I would post this in the hopes that your parents are teaching you the same things mine taught me.

When I was very little, my family told me all the fireworks, bonfires, picnics and parades were for me, lol. Of course I believed it! But in a way, it was NOT a lie.

On our birthday, the citizens of this great nation celebrate the birthday of the greatest country ever to grace this planet. Because we have been blessed to be born on the 4th of July, we never ever have to worry about a birthday party- the whole citizenry celebrates.  Every parade, every bonfire, every picnic, barbecue, concert and fireworks display IS for US. Us as in WE, the People.

I learned all the patriotic songs when I was a child; my family put great store by music and even greater store by the treasure that is citizenship here, in the land of freedom. Have your parents taught YOU all the songs? Yankee Doodle Dandy, This is My Country, God Bless America? There are soo soo many; and every one expresses the author’s love of this country and the hope and freedom we represent to the world.

Things are different today, for you and your generation, than they were for mine and those before me. I watched with sadness as my children grew and went to schools where the day did not start with the Pledge of Allegiance and a patriotic hymn. We were so much luckier then. The adults in our lives, including our parents, neighbors, teachers- AND the government- believed and TAUGHT us that America is an exceptional place and that we should be thankful every single moment that we were blessed to be here. I hear you are a very bright young woman. Have you heard the phrase “American Exceptionalism?”  Undoubtedly you have, but in a derogatory way; a way that denigrates the wonder that is this free society! That is sad. America IS exceptional, both in history and today. Our founders took an idea; that people can rule and govern themselves, and made it a reality! People from various religions, countries and ethnicities came here for the promise that they could make their own way in the world and for the hope that if they worked hard enough there would be a better life for their descendants. America has grown since 1776 and we are still taking ideas- DREAMS- and turning them into reality! Space travel, the automobile, vaccinations, the defeat of polio, the internet- the list goes on and on and on! Oh yes indeed this is an exceptional country!

Have you been taught, as I was taught, that sharing your birthday with this great country is an honor? Funny, I have sisters born on Christmas Eve and they always felt their birthdays were forgotten. I never felt that way about my birthday. Always, always, I was taught to feel honored and privileged. That feeling remains with me today.

My Nana came here from Scotland, one grandfather from Prussia via England, others from Ireland. All came for freedom. America is unique that way; we are all immigrants. ALL. And yet, we are one. E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.

So dear Malia, when you see the fireworks, remember- it IS about us. We, the people. Political differences abound, we are many colors and religions, come from the North, the South, East and West, yes indeed there are many many differences. But in the end, we have one thing in common that overrides all the differences; we are Americans, and we are blessed! Have a wonderful birthday!

Should you ever get the chance, do go to the best birthday party of all! Catch the Boston Pops on the Esplanade. A free concert for all. And join in on my favorite part-


6 Responses

  1. WOW.

    Happy Birthday Mom. Happy Birthday Malia.

    And Happy Birthday to all of US!

  2. E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.

    Well said!

    Happy Birthday, PMM!

    You share in the grand history of this great country!

    • Indeed TC- and the two parties trying to divide us sucks! For no matter our differences- and some of them are HUGE- in the end- we are ALL Americans!

      • I think it scares the crap out of them that we may one day realize that!

        Happy Birthday to you and I hope you enjoy the fabulous celebration. That was a fantastic letter to Malia and I think it would be even better if she read it.

  3. Happy Trails, PMM!

    Hope the trip continues to be a blast.

    Your baby felines are hoping you have a great time too.

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