Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL — While typically a celebration of the birth of American liberty and the nation described by Abraham Lincoln as "the last best hope of the earth," there is no doubt things have been rough the last few years.
Everyone could list the catastrophes by memory, after years of newsreels and reports, perhaps even in chronological or alphabetical order — pandemics, civil unrest, deficits, insurrections, inflation, corruption and unending political bickering. It's hardly the standard warm up to a rousing chorus of patriotic hymns and Fourth of July festivities.
We're constantly reminded of how divided we've become. And, as necessary as it is to confront our shared woes and work toward resolution, there's a real danger that fixation on hardship and division might blind us to all else.
Perhaps what we need most is to be reminded of what binds us together and unites us, despite our differences. We can all come together and celebrate our good fortune in calling "America the Beautiful" our home, regardless of our individual civic persuasions.
For at least a few minutes, pause any angst or animosity and enjoy this video tour of America's wondrous and diverse landscapes. From deep desert canyons, sprawling tundras and lofty peaks, from sea to shining sea, we can all agree this is a diverse and choice land.
But, more than just pretty scenery, America's inspiring natural beauty offers hope for a better tomorrow. Many of America's parks and protected spaces had to endure years of bitter disputes, chaos and uncertainty. Despite it all, they endure.
While touring these remarkable landscapes, it's easier to trust that we can endure, aided by a love of the land and nation we call home.
As we observe the Fourth of July, what symbols inspire you and give you hope?