As I write this, it is July 9. Only five days after Independence Day. A day meant to celebrate the United States' independence from Britain, have a barbecue and celebrate all things generally American. The one day a year that as a nation we can be unapologetically loud and proud about our heritage.
One could say that the 4th is a day of heightened patriotism. Where we can come together as Americans to appreciate the unique nation that we live in, and to come together to appreciate all of the freedoms we have as citizens.
I am an Army ROTC cadet at SMU. I attend a weekly class that doubles as training so when I graduate college, I will be prepared to join the Army as an officer. My dad was also an Army officer, along with my grandfather and uncle both serving in the Navy. Two of my best friends have left to spend their summers in boot camp. I live in a world where serving your country is one of the noblest things that you can do.
Five days after the Fourth of July, I look around me and see absolutely no patriotism. I see a nation in an internal struggle. In the past week, there have been two highly publicized shootings by police officers. These shootings mirror many other shootings seen across the nation in the past two years, beginning with the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. They have sparked much disagreement and debate between minority groups, police groups, and politicians.
As a result of the two shootings, a man chose to target a protest and the police officers protecting it. The shooting took place in downtown Dallas, less than seven miles from my campus. A single shooter killed five police officers, wounding others. He described his motives to police as angry with white people, police officers and the "Black Lives Matter," movement.
When I watch the news, I am gripped by fear. I am gripped by the fear that our country has lost our sense of patriotism. The sense that we are lucky to live in our nation. The sense that we are a United States.
Our nation is falling to pieces. I only see one way to put our puzzle back together. We need to treat every day like it is the Fourth of July. We are a nation of patriots, and we need to treat our nation accordingly.