Last week I spent a few days in Napa Valley, California--wine region USA--and learned that the first vines were brought there by priests. I think they were Franciscan. The Franciscans were very active up and down the Pacific coast of North America. I have visited all but a few of the Missions established by Blessed Fray Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest from Majorca sent to convert the Indians of Alta California. So many brave pioneering men and women have helped to make America a powerful and prosperous nation warts and all. As today is Independence Day, I cannot help but think about the debt we owe to the Founding Father s and those who supported their vision for the colonies by fighting for independence and conceiving of a new way to govern. This is not so much about being nationalistic, rather it is about paying homage to brave people and those who put it all on the line for an idea they believed in.
Maybe where America has gone astray, if in fact it has, is to lose sight of how humble we should be when we consider what those men did in Philadelphia before and up until 1781 with the passage of the US Constitution. We benefited from the efforts of England in the colonies until the War of Independence and relied upon the writings of progressive European thinkers of the day. We retain that influence in our architecture our laws and our shared history. In California we are no less connected to Europe and Mexico and the culture here reflects that in the best possible ways-food, family law and architecture.
America is great in theory and we should continuously re-examine ourselves to ensure that we are on the right path…because we owe a debt. Between the World Cup and July 4th I have become completely sentimental (or maybe just more so).
I truly believe we would all be better off if we spent more time contemplating how connected we are. No Napa without the Spanish, no America without the English, no vuvuzelas without South Africa and apparently no football without the Germans!!
Today, I remember all those who died for their dreams worldwide and I hope in the future that We, the People, do a better job promoting peace & prosperity-no strings attached and no hidden agendas. Happy, happy Independence Day America. Be proud but stay grounded.