COLUMN: If we are proud to be Americans, we should always give glory to Him

Published 9:15 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

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Let’s start by going back in time 40 years to May 21, 1984. It was on that date when country musician Lee Greenwood released his iconic patriotic song “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Zack Maio and country musician Lee Greenwood at the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce’s July Jamz in the summer of 2022.

While I was three years from being born, this song could not have been written with better lyrics. Two summers ago, I attended the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce’s summer favorite July Jamz for the first time. It just so happened to be the night Lee Greenwood performed in Andalusia. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall was also in town near the Covington Veterans Memorial behind City Hall.

Lee Greenwood performed an absolutely incredible concert with a record-breaking crowd in attendance. Following his show, I purchased a July Jamz shirt and stood in line to get his autograph. When the time came to meet him face-to-face, I shook his hand and told him I was honored to meet him. He signed my shirt and took this picture with me. I still have the shirt with his personalized autograph intact to this day.

It’s no secret our country is not in the best shape right now. Lord only knows what will happen in November when we head to the polls and cast our votes for the next President of the United States. However, with all that is going on in our world today, one thing has not changed, and that is the man above.

Regardless of your beliefs, morals, or values in life, God and Jesus are watching over us every single day. He is the one we should give glory to nonetheless and lean on him when we are at our highest of highs or lowest of lows.

Now, let’s go back 23 years to Sept. 11, 2001. I was in my ninth-grade English class with Debbie Parrish at Straughn High School when we received word our country was invaded by terrorists. While I did not know anyone who lost his or her life personally, my heart dropped for those who were not as fortunate as well as their loved ones who were faced with devastating losses.

Not long after our country went under attack, Alan Jackson first performed a song he wrote entitled “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” on Nov. 7, 2001.

One of the lyrics in that song always sticks out in my mind: “Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us and the greatest is love.” Like Lee Greenwood’s song, this line carries great significance.

Everyone deserves to be happy and treated with the utmost respect. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, but thankfully, my parents raised me well and to respect my elders. My mother engrained the Golden Rule in me from an early age and often reminded me to treat others as I want to be treated by them.

Nobody’s perfect, but I’m proud of the man I’ve grown up to be in life. I feel like my parents would be proud of the person I am today. I’ve been called a Southern gentleman and still believe in chivalry thanks to the morals and values my parents taught me.

I struggle with both their losses as well as my sister’s but know they are in a much better place and no longer suffering. God has healed them and provided a comforting home for all three in the skies above.

The United States of America celebrated its 248th birthday on Thursday. In my opinion, we need God more than ever in our country. It’s your discretion whether you agree with me or not, but we are all entitled to freedom of speech.

Andalusia did an exceptional job from the reading of the Declaration of Independence to the Daughters of the American Revolution Old Three Notch chapter’s 12th annual Fourth of July Parade. Thank you to regent Carol-Ann Mullins and all of the DAR ladies for your hard work and dedication to making this year’s parade the best to date! Patriotism was certainly in the air, and it filled my heart with joy and pride to see all the red, white, and blue.

I will close with the popular phrase: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” While there have been many highlights in my 37 years on Earth, there have been some low points, too. I ask that you remember the lyrics of Lee Greenwood and Alan Jackson, always keep the Golden Rule in mind, and never forget who we live for on Earth: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope everyone had a safe and blessed holiday and gave all the glory to God!