Biblical and Constitutional Politics
Salute to America
President Trump’s Ode
to American Exceptionalism
By Gary F. Zeolla
On Independence Day, 2019 Trump held his “Salute to America.” And it was excellent! It was a one-hour overview of 243 years of American exceptionalism. It caused pride to swell up in my heart and tears in my eyes. It made me proud to be an American.
The First Half of the Salute
In the first half of the Salute, President Trump overviewed the 243-year history of America, starting with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “On this day, 243 years ago, our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to declare Independence and defend our God-given rights.”
He then highlighted American inventions. From the light bulb to the telephone to the “mighty American automobile,” Americans invented it all.
He then overviewed American heroes. From George Washington to the Wright brothers, to Chuck Yeager, to John Glenn, and to modern-day heroes, many of whom he recognized in the audience.
In what I am sure was a last-minute addition, he also mentioned Betsy Rose, a shot to Nike and their ridiculous pulling of their Betsy Rose sneakers earlier this week. But then, he also mentioned several more female heroines, like Amelia Earhart, then he focused on it being the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, so Betsy Rose might not have been a last-minute addition. His mention of so many women is contrary to the claim of many that he is a misogynist.
Most of whom he mentioned were not military heroes, contrary to the claim of detractors that this would be just a military tribute. For instance, he honored a doctor who developed a treatment for childhood leukemia and a black civil rights activist. He especially focused on the latter, who was in the audience and received great cheers when he was introduced. Trump also mentioned that the United States reached its founding ideals in the emancipation and the struggle for civil rights. That is contrary to the claim of many that he is a racist.
He then honored our law enforcement, including ICE and Border Patrol. That was fitting given the many complaints about them of late. And he highlighted the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, saying we would be going to the moon again soon, and then planting the American flag on Mars.
The Second Half of the Salute
It was in the second half of the Salute that President Trump honored the military, and in a great way. This is what many criticized him for, saying he was turning Independence Day into a military holiday. But what such critics don’t seem to realize is that without our great military, there would be no Independence Day.
He overviewed our victories in wars, from the Revolutionary War to the war against ISIS and our victory in Syria over them. On display was much military hardware, tanks and more. For that he was much criticized, saying it cost too much. But he was by no means the first President to feature military hardware in a speech, and I am sure he will not be the last.
He then honored each branch of the military in turn: The Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Army. He first gave a short history of each branch, focusing on their important battle victories and sacrifices. Then, as that branch’s song played, there was an inspiring fly-over. The best was the B-2 Stealth bomber, flanked by two F-22 Raptor stealth fighters.
The ceremony ended with a stirring rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by a military choir. They sang not just the first stanza but all five stanzas. The final one is decidedly Christian, mentioning Christ and his sacrifice for us, “He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!”
As that song was being sung, the Blue Angels made a flyover. They are awesome. Six jets flying in perfect formation. It is awe-inspiring how they can fly so close together.
The ceremony ended with Trump’s signature song, “God Bless the USA,” heard at all of his rallies. That song is so inspiring.
Needless to say, before and after the Salute,
the Trump-detractors continued to detract and criticize the event, but that is
because all they can do is focus on American’s faults, while true patriots focus
on American’s triumphs and greatness. When detractors say this was a “partisan”
event and that Trump was “politicizing” the holiday, that is only because
patriotism is now associated with Republicans, as Democrats are not proud of
I watched the event on Fox News, but I switched to CNN and MSNBC to see if they were carrying it. CNN was, but MSNBC was not. MSNBC was instead criticizing the speech, rather showing it and letting their viewers decide for themselves.
After the Salute, the pundits on Fox News all praised it. One even said, “The detractors must feel foolish.” But when I switched to CNN, the four male pundits were all unanimously criticizing Trump’s speech, while the lone female pundit was the only one who seemed to like it.
One of the men asked, “I wonder what Republicans would say about this speech if Obama gave it?” Well, Obama would never have given such a speech, as he was never proud to be an American. That was seen by him beginning his presidency with his famous (or infamous) “apology tour.”
This lack of respect for America was emphasized by his wife, Michele Obama, when Barack was elected. She said, “For the first time in my life, I am proud of America.” The first time? She was in her forties at the time. I’m about the same age as her, and I’ve been proud of America all of my life, and more so when I watch events like this. And that was the whole point.
Trump’s Salute to American was designed to remind Americans how great this country truly is and how blessed we are to live here. It did that and more. That could be seen by the recurring chants of “USA! USA! USA!” throughout the speech. As such, it was worth every penny, no matter what the detractors might say.
As for the money, the price tag I've heard is $2.5 million. That is a lot of money, but it is minuscule in comparison to the US budget, and far more money is wasted on far-less important things by the US government. Moreover, most of that cost was for the fuel for the flyovers. Those happen all the time, such as for the Superbowl and NASCAR races. The military uses them as training exercises, so there really is no waste.
The media has made much about Trump misstating about airports during the Revolutionary War. He says he misread the teleprompter due to the rain. Admittedly, it was a gaff he should have caught. But harping on that one mistake is “nitpicking.” It should not detract from the overall inspiring Salute.
But most of all, the refrain from the media before the Salute was that Trump
would make it all about himself and that it would just be another one of his
political re-election campaign rallies. That is why MSNBC did not air it. They
claimed that if they did, they would need to give equal time to the Democratic
presidential candidates. But they were proven wrong in that claim. He did not
make it about himself, and it was not a campaign rally. He never even mentioned
himself or his myriad of accomplishments. The only possible exception is when he
said, “America is stronger than ever.” That is true and is because of his
policies, especially towards the military, but it was just a statement of fact.
Otherwise, the Salute was solely about America, not Trump.
Finally, if you didn’t watch it, you can view it on YouTube. It is well worth the watching. But note that NBC wrongly titles the video, “Pres. Trump’s July 4th Military Display.” As one YouTube commenter puts it, “Military display, NBC, really? That’s all you saw. I saw so much more than that and loved what I saw and heard” (Janet Bryan). Me too!
ABC News. Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ July 4th celebration not without controversy.
Lyrics. Battle Hymn of the Republic.
NY Post. Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ showcased innovation, military might.
Trib Live. Trump sticks to patriotic themes at Fourth of July event.
Salute to America: President Trump’s Ode to American Exceptionalism. Copyright © 2019 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).
Tearing the USA Apart
From Kavanaugh, to Incivility, to Caravans, to Violence, to the 2018 Midterm Elections, and Beyond
States of American is being torn about by political differences more than any
time since the 1960s and maybe since the Civil War of the 1860s. This division
was amplified by political events in the summer to fall of 2018. This time
period could prove to be seminal in the history of the United States. This
tearing apart came to the forefront and was amplified during the confirmation
proceedings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This book overviews
the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings in detail. It then overviews these
additional major events that occurred up to the end of November 2018.
The above article was posted on
this website July 5, 2019.
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