Authentic moments of American pride are scarce in our contentious political environment of late, but I experienced such an occasion this morning. Today our family celebrated the Fourth of July at Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas, an inclusive amusement park that is especially accommodating to those with special needs.
While waiting for the water park to open we attended the ceremony honoring first responders and military personnel, current and veterans. We were treated with a presentation of the national anthem you won’t hear at your typical America sporting event. Two students from The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland school for students with special needs, Leah and Gabriel, along with their teacher, Sierra, humbly sang the words “Oh say can you see”. Afterward, Leah sang a passionate cover of Firework that would have brought tears to Katy Perry’s eyes.
What moved me was watching two individuals, who, for me, represent the vast population of special needs Americans, honor another group of Americans, and I mean specifically veterans here, that share a common reality; neither of these groups receive the fully funded care that they need and deserve. And yet, they faithfully stood and honored the very country that deprives them. It was a dose of humility that we all need to swallow. Surely, we can do better by these and others. We must!
Our nation’s leaders sit a very power tables. While they have laid out fear and despair on the table-cloth, there are still those, like Leah and Gabriel, who remind us of an America that can still offer hope to its most fragile citizens and to those beyond her borders. So, on this day as we remember the words of our founding declaration that ALL have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, let us be about the business of improving life for, not just some, but ALL Americans.
Thanks, Morgan’s Wonderland. We’ll be back.