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Lift your glasses to the Union

“To the Union!” -- Angelica Schuyler, during “Satisfied” from the play “Hamilton” It was a sweltering summer in Philadelphia 244 years ago when a group of patriots gathered to draft what would become the Declaration of Independence. The men included merchants, lawyers, statesmen, plantation owners and farmers. Among the delegates were those born to wealth and others of more modest means sent as delegates from each colony.

This diverse group came together because they saw a need for a change, for a revolution, for a new beginning. They dreamed of a place where all would be free to pursue the promise of life, liberty and happiness.

The fruit of that promise was purchased through years of bloody revolution. The new nation was forged through debate and compromise — differences being set aside to come together for the common good of all. It was, and still remains, a grand experiment where the people choose their leaders rather than having a king or queen demand obedience.

A toast to the Union and the revolution may seem like a quaint and dated expression in today’s troubled times.

For all outward signs America is a mess. Its people have been artificially divided. The political analysts paint with the broad brush of red and blue politics, simplifying complex issues into either or formulas. Others commingle the politics of economics between the haves and have nots with longstanding issues of prejudice and bigotry.

America has the shortsighted few who burn their communities in frustration and others who see violence as the only answer. There are those who seek to divide so that they may personally profit and others that spread fear in pursuit of power.

In the face of these forces, it is necessary for all Americans to take the time to stand back and remember the truly remarkable nature of the United States of America and what this great nation means not only for those of us who call it home, but as a light for the world.

Despite, and some would argue because of its flaws, America remains the “shining city on the hill,” the beacon calling all comers to its shores to be part of something great and wonderful. The Union endures because of this promise, because there are those who will stand up and not allow the flame of liberty to be extinguished and where what choices you make matter more than accidents of birth or luck.

This weekend’s celebration of the United States’ birth is a reminder that however fractured it may seem, the Union endures and remains strong. These are far from the darkest days that have plagued the country’s history. Through diligence and faith in the nation’s founding principles, the Union will endure for many years to come.

This weekend raise your glasses to the Union that, in the words of Stephen Vincent Benét, in “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” she “[S]tands as she stood, rock-bottomed and copper-sheathed, one and indivisible.” Raise a toast to Union, long may she endure.