Happy Birthday, America. Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 390

This year celebrates 244 years of independence, honoring this great nation with all the turmoil, chaos, pain and strife that has marked 2020 to date.

The High School and college graduates this year are saddened and angered by all that they’ve missed out on; senior prom, closing ceremonies or the opportunity to walk across the stage with cap and gown, diploma in hand serenaded by the cheers of family and friends amongst the sea of happy faces. It’s certainly a disappointment to all those youngsters who feel cheated at having lost out on this great life cycle event.

And on the other side of the spectrum, Laurel and I have spoken with many of our dear senior citizens with whom we used to interact with on a weekly basis leading them in worship and song. For them, this year has been uniquely difficult, having been physically cut off from family and friends and the critical socializing that sustains them in their golden years.

As hard as it has been on them, it is even more so for their children and grandchildren who can only visit them virtually or by standing and waving from outside their residence window.

In our conversations with them we know that they have seen so much in their lifetimes, so many things we can’t begin to comprehend. The over 90-year-old group reminisces about the misery of polio that robbed so many and the elation when the vaccine became available. They recall their loved ones running to volunteer to fight in World War II and Korea, living with ration books and managing at home with so little. And yet they survived, raised families and thrived in the turmoil.

Though many of us may feel less hopeful and celebratory this July 4, I hope that we can take Jefferson’s words of the declaration to heart. We are all created equal, and all share the inalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I’ve learned so much from these senior citizens, observing their resilience and zest for life, during this chaotic year. We can, and we will get through this seemingly worst time of our lives. And when we’re through it and looking back, we will realize the journey has strengthened us as people and as a nation just as our founders fought and led the way to freedom and independence.

Happy Birthday, America.

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