On the way home from Church on the 4th of July, I discussed with my grand-children of the homily where the priest focused on those first generations of American people who had sacrificed in the early days in building this beautiful and prosperous American country for us today…
I then brought up the subject of the term “IN GOD WE TRUST” printed on our currency which is now some people have brought up as an issue of debating whether to remove that term from the printing.
My grandchildren were born here in America and like some other Americans, they don’t understand too much of the value of things they inherit or they tend to value the things in terms of material only.
As an immigrant, coming from a country that was torn up by war, hunger, injustice, and very limited freedom. I see America differently because of having comparison, even in the current declining value in religious, morality or increasing in crimes… America is still maintaining excellent freedom, virtue, morality… over many other countries I have experienced.
The first American generations or most of them were very religious, they place God in the center of their lives, they practice God love into the love toward each other, sacrifice their sweat and blood toward the goal of building a good society and a strong country of America. The very high value they passed on to us is the spiritual value that inspires the world, for example:
- Assistance to the world: America is called Police of the world. American forces always respond to the calls of any country, friends, or even enemies in any circumstance (1).
- In the area of charity: Americans have been in many poor and underdeveloped, suffering countries such as Africa in the fields of health care, education... They work voluntarily and accepting the poor living condition and some time, risk their lives.
- In rescue mission: Americans are always in the front line of offering assistance to any rescue need anywhere in the world.
The above lofty characters were contributed by millions of heroes, who had placed God in their lives and from God, they have experienced in spiritual lives, strong mind, high morality down to excellent physical energy to fight for independence and freedom, developing the prosperous country. They applied the love of God into love each other and sacrifice for each other. Their religious way of life had become the American heritage we have no right to criticize but appreciate.
The term “IN GOD WE TRUST” in our currency, like any other monuments around the country, does not just represent a term for religious or Christian. It has become more of the American history, tradition, morality, and virtue. It is the American Logo. This is not the question of religious freedom.
Many people, even the people in the enemy country, love to come and live here, for different reasons: economic opportunity, freedom, education… American life is a big dream for millions. I can say that as an immigrant, having lived in other countries, I and many foreigners see the value of life in America much different than many American born.
In this modern life today, many of us use to see things differently from our ancestors, we think more of material than spiritual life, we concern more of our benefit rather the benefit of others, even between members in family, husband and wife, parent and children...
The idea of love, morality, responsibility, sacrifice has lesser and lesser meaning. We tend to criticize, complain, demonstrate excessively, and incite a riot that many times causes terrible damages to innocent people.
A beautiful story: President Ly, of Singapore, visited President Mao of China; President Mao was in bed in his last days asked President Ly: What made America so strong? President Ly answered: Because American go to Church… (American observe spiritual life)
Let’s set back and take a moment to reset ourselves into the American proper value.
It would be interesting to look at the irony consequence that how the American troops receive back for their sacrifice to some countries: If by accident, an American force causes damage or death to some civilians, immediately the local government or people there would not hesitate to make a complaint or demonstrate against American troops but ironically if the troop from local government or troops from other countries such as Russia, then nothing would be the issue.
Or as in case of recent events in China seas, where China threaten the security to the regions, some countries who have just expelled the American troops out of their countries, due to some inconveniences such as noisy airport, some drunken soldiers… but only days later, re-invite American troops to return and to protect them and freely build as many bases as needed.