In the sands of time, we are less than a blink. Even the history of America is little more. But in terms of the human experience, America stands as the pinnacle of lessons learned, of liberty earned. Each one of us will be one foot in the grave soon enough, and we will look back and we will honestly ponder, despite our rationalizations and justifications utilized up until that point, whether or not we used the time we had to do good.
Did we honor the sacrifices of those who came before us? Did we do right by those who had less, worked harder, and who gave more than ourselves? Do we honorably stand on the shoulders of greater generations? Or do we merely pay those greater generations lip service while "playing the game" and using our fortunate positions for our own advancement? Have we earned our place in America?
We will ponder whether or not we furthered the cause of America and helped make it the lamp on the hill. Some of us will be unable to escape the reality that, when tested, we failed to do so and instead dimmed that precious light. Given so much, in debt to those came before us, some will depart knowing they added nothing. We are all measured.
Words and faint-hearted professions will not make for a comfortable departure. When the clock strikes midnight, and you are recounting your life, and asking what was it all for - and you will - are you going to be able to say that you did right by your countrymen? Did you leave the world a better place than it was left to you?
Did you give back according to what you received from the blood and sweat of those who came before?