Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Address to a Congress, humbled by the shootings that occurred a month ago in Tuscan, Arizona. Republicans and Democrats intermingled, sitting side by side in a show of support for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and in the spirit of toning down the hateful rhetoric of the past. I was touched by many points in the President’s speech and was especially moved at the very end when he said:
“From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.
We’re a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company.” “I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree.” “I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try.” “I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”
We do big things.
The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it’s because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.
Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.”
This struck a cord for me, vis a vis my search for the “real” America (vanishing or otherwise) and my reflections on my ancestors journeys to find freedom and fulfill their destinies in this new land that offered options and choices they had never known. I began to discern a thread that perhaps weaves my two passions of yesterday and today’s American dreams (that show up on the roadsides of our land) and my quest to understand the motivations that drove my ancestors to push ahead into new lands fraught with danger and challenge. It’s this inimitable spirit that courses through our veins as “Americans” – full of as much diversity as one could imagine – that has endured as the “land of the free”.
So what will I choose? I will continue this exploration into the two strands of discovery that pull me forward – not knowing where I’m going really! but adventurous to continue this discussion despite the fact that I’m not sure where it’s taking me.
I’m still editing my photos from our Florida road trip and will post them in the next few days along with musings about the American culture we discovered – the one that hasn’t vanished yet!