This past weekend my wife and I were in Philadelphia.
We were there because I had been asked to officiate at the wedding of our son’s college roommate. As you know, or can imagine, the 24-36 hours around a wedding are a whirlwind of details and crush of family and friends. I did what I could to help with the details so the bride and groom and their parents could focus on what was most important.
But there were a couple of hours on Saturday morning when nothing was planned.
So after breakfast, my wife and I went for a walk through Independence National Park. We walked through the Visitor Center and across the plaza reading the plaques and displays explaining the history which took place there and in that historic city. As we walked past the building which houses the Liberty Bell, I noticed a family of Indian descent standing on the lawn taking a family picture. The backdrop to their picture, which you can’t see in the photo I took of them as they took a picture of their family, is Independence Hall where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and adopted. A bit further down the Mall a young couple whose family heritage was Central American was taking a similar picture. And then there was a family whose heritage was Asian.
All were taking the same picture.
A picture of their family with Independence Hall in the background.
If there ever was a picture of America, I saw it on Saturday morning.
Families who parents or grandparents or great-grandparents had traveled to America from every other place on earth, often risking everything and arriving with nothing. All for the chance of making the lives of their children and grandchildren better. There they stood on the grass in front of Independence Hall to take a family picture.
I am spoiled.
It was my great, great-grandparents who took the risk and made the journey to the United States. I am the beneficiary.
There are times I am critical of our government and of the actions our country takes in relation to other countries in the world. But on Saturday morning, walking through Independence National Park I was reminded me how fortunate I am. How fortunate we are.
I took the picture I posted above to remind me to be grateful.
And to remind me of what America really looks like.