Happy Independence Day, Central Florida! #WeAreAmerica

Dr Phillips Center Memorial

It’s in the air. You can feel it. You can SEE it. Something’s very different about the fourth of July this year in Central Florida. It’s in the way people treat one another. It’s in the courtesy shown in public places. It’s in the rainbow colors and flags seen waving proudly EVERYWHERE in Central Florida. It’s in the way people drive… well, maybe not yet on I-4, but we have HOPE!

One World Shelbie Press

Shelbie Press in Mills 50

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Central Florida has changed since the early hours of June 12th, and it’s been harrowing, emotional and beautiful to see. Constructive action over destructive assumption. Helpful gestures over harmful posturing. Doors are opening for all instead of closing in the face of most. More hands are being held in public, and more hugs are being given for all to see – by strangers, friends, and lovers alike.

Photo Credit: LoveHasNoLabels.com

Photo Credit: LoveHasNoLabels.com

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

John Cena put out a beautiful video this morning about, and yes I’m capitalizing it, Patriotism. “It inspires passion and debate, and it’s worn like a badge of honor with good reason,” he says. “Because it means love and devotion for one’s country. Love.

Facebook.com/PulseOfOurHeartbeat

Central Florida bloggers gather at WMFE to sing a song written by local mom, Kelly Green, “Pulse Of Our Heartbeat.”

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

But, what really makes up this country of ours? What is it we love?” Cena asks. “It’s the people,” he answers. “Almost half the country belongs to minority groups. People who are lesbian, African American, and Bi, and Transgender, and Native American, and proud of it.

We Are America gif

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

Cena continues, “After all, what’s more American than freedom to celebrate all the things that make us, US. This year, Patriotism shouldn’t be just about pride of country. It should be about LOVE. Love beyond age, disability, sexuality, race, religion, and any other labels.

Visit www.spearlife.com

“You Mattered” mural on the corner of Mills & Colonial by local artist Andrew Spear of spearlife.com

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

As Cena points out, quite correctly, “Because the second any of us judge people based on those labels – we’re not really being Patriotic, are we?

Things are different now. Thanks to terrible tragedy we have been left with 49 less neighbors, grieving parents, and a huge hole on the mend, in the heart of Orlando.

But we’ve also been left with love. 

Love for the friends and families of the 102 injured and slain at Pulse that Sunday, and for each other. The shooter’s act of vile hatred did not ultimately accomplish its intended goal. Orlando’s heart was ripped in half, but our community spirit was not. In fact, we became closer, stronger, and more unified than ever.

That is Patriotism.

Pride and Patriotism at Church Street Station

Pride and Patriotism at Church Street Station

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Read more stories of inspiration, and learn more about bias at lovehasnolabels.com, and add your photo to the gallery here.

Watch Ad Council’s full version of We Are America featuring John Cena here.