My Independence Day Blog

An act of Congress declared that, contrary to all rules regarding the use of the American flag, it shall fly above the grave of Jennie Wade, night or day, rain or shine, with no illumination, and it shall never be lowered to half-staff. She was the only civilian killed at Gettysburg, as she was making bread for the Union soldiers.

I’ve come to appreciate our American freedoms so much recently when I was under fire for controversial comments that I made and the lawyers said very businesslike, “This is protected under the First.” And I had a moment right then…for the first time, I really sat and realized that this Constitution, written more than two centuries ago is still valid, even on Facebook, and that I needn’t worry at all because what I say is PROTECTED. And I realized for the very first time, as an adult, how radical, how special, how valuable this is.

It’s one thing to learn in a school book that freedom of speech is good, but when you experience a time in your life when you realize how REAL that promise is, and how radical for the time it was, you begin to realize, wow, this country has been GOOD to me, even when I didn’t know any better, even when I didn’t appreciate it like I should have. And wow….that’s something spectacular…I’m very proud to be a citizen of the country that was FIRST to value the importance of freedoms of speech and press and religion. Consider how lucky we are! It is this brilliance and this genius that makes me so proud to be an American.

…I think hamburgers are gross, I don’t even know how to play baseball, I view the pledge of allegiance as an example of forced indoctrination of young people against their consent, I think singing the National Anthem at sporting events is in terribly bad taste, and I wish the song “God Bless America” had never been written because it’s just stupid…

…But I’m no dummy, and I realize the genius and radical awesomeness that this country has offered me. And because of that and the true freedoms that I know are mine forever, I shall be a proud and lifelong patriot.

And I thank all those brave individuals who had to fight so hard to make those values something that I COULD have taken for granted in my youth. But I never will again. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for making so many deep sacrifices, just so that I wouldn’t have to make any. THAT is what makes this country great.


About Jesse Katen

Jesse Katen is a professor, dance studio owner, and competition judge who lives in Binghamton, New York. In 2004, he opened his studio, The Jesse Katen School of Dance, which is in Windsor, NY. He travels extensively throughout the United States as a guest teacher and professional competition judge. In 2016, he was awarded the Industry Dance Award for Outstanding Judge by the Association of Dance Conventions & Competitions at their annual gala in Las Vegas. He also teaches in the English department at SUNY Broome Community College. Jesse's professional and volunteer work focuses on education, dance, literacy, and the arts. Check out the WBNG-TV news feature on Jesse: This blog by Jesse Katen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted on July 5, 2011, in Politics and Current Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. WOW Jesse that is so beautiful..wish everyone could read it. Through you we are all learning a very valuable lesson. I love reading your interpretation of life..whether I agree or not it is ALWAYS interesting. Thank you


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