“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.” – G.K. Chesterton
As a child, the 4th of July was the most anticipated day of summer vacation. My parents, aunts and uncles would put great effort into planning the day. The reason for such preparation, was that our family was large. Any of our gatherings, would resemble that of the family reunions of today. However, our gatherings then, were a frequent occurrence; rather than, that of a reunion, which may take years to bring to fruition.
All would arrive early in the morning, with food, beverages and kids in tow. The grills would be fired up, so the Independence Day celebration could begin with a late afternoon lunch; burgers, dogs, pasta(note: we were Italian), and an assortment of cakes, cookies and ice cream-all reflecting the theme of the day.
As dusk approached, our moms would begin the clean-up. The best help our dads could offer, was to take the kids, in a caravan of cars, to the local beach, for the fireworks display. Their hands were quite full, keeping us all corralled, until the display was over. By the time we returned to the host family’s home, our moms had all in ship-shape, and we were drowsy eyed, and ready for bed.
Time regretfully moves on, and with its passage, wonderful traditions are discontinued; as future generations, are unable to keep them alive. Such events are only relived in our memories. Yet I see my nieces and nephews making traditions of their own, even though they may be of a lesser scale. They have gathered, from the reminiscent stories, revealed to them by their parents, that these traditions were valuable and important. Valuable and important, because-traditions join people, rather than separate them.
Traditions that are instrumental in holding families together, accomplish the same for a nation.
For our nation, the United States of America, to have survived thus far, a tradition was required. A tradition, born of a comprehensive creed and right-reasoned set of governing rules, built upon a foundation, that would stand up to all adversaries; those from without and those from within. A foundation substantiated by an absolute truth that would be most difficult to tear asunder. That absolute truth was made manifest by the inscriptions on two stone tablets and the silent response to the question; “Quid est veritas?”
In essence, our nation was born of a progressive movement. It broke away from an absolute european monarchy, and was founded on democratic principles of the ancient Greek city-states. But, our initial progressive endeavor has now rooted itself in its own unique tradition. A tradition, based upon freedom – not simply freedom from something, but freedom for something – that has become the identity of this nation.
Any positive progress that this nation makes in the future, can only be accomplished by protecting the fundamentals of its foundation. For if its foundation is compromised, then the very identity of our nation is lost. We will have become an unrecognizable distortion of what once was.
“We must be cautious as we advance down the road of progress. For if we are not vigilant; the best of what we are, may well be left behind. And what progress is there in that.”