PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — It’s the Fourth of July weekend! This year, the holiday got me to thinking about junior high and my 8thgrade social studies teacher, Mrs. Hodgkinson. She was big on having us memorize parts of important American documents and speeches. You know, the Preamble to the Constitution, portions of the Gettysburg Address, and the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. I bet you’re wondering if I still remember them. Well, listen to this!

“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.” Thanks, Mrs. Hodgkinson!

My grandmother was also big on memorization only her focus was on having me memorize things like the 23rd Psalm, the Lord’s Prayer, and other scriptures.

On this patriotic holiday, many of us are wrestling with the many and varied challenges we are facing in our country, our communities, and even our families. What do we do? I don’t have the answers, but I think my grandmother was onto something with that scripture memorization.

One of the scriptures she had me memorize is James 2:20. “Faith without works is dead.” Another is Romans 12:18 which says in part, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” I do have faith and, I’m sure like you, I pray for our country, communities, and families every day. But I’m also searching for ways to work to become part of the solution. Ways to defuse anger, to remain calm and peaceful. To build up rather than tear down.

Our country has gone through so much since 1776. We’ve survived… as a nation and as a people. So, on this Fourth of July, I invite you to join me in celebrating our nation by pursuing a little of that happiness the Declaration of Independence talks about… and then, in working toward being the best people we can possibly be.