I love my country. No, I am not blind to the problems and struggles of our nation. Indeed, I have seen some of the blights of our country up close. I am a child of the deep South racism that scarred our nation for most of its history. I was also impacted by the segregationist cries of George Wallace and a bungled burglary called Watergate.

I could continue to name many more blights upon our nation, but the exercise would not be helpful. To the contrary, most reasonable persons will quickly see that the blessings of America far outweigh the weaknesses. I have taken the opportunity to name ten broad reasons for thanksgiving this Fourth of July.

1. I am thankful for our founders.

It is hard for me to imagine the sacrifices and tenacity of those who shaped our nation. Their vision for a country such as ours is something to behold. From the Constitution to the Congress of the U.S., their genius and creativity still touches our lives today.

2. I am thankful for our military.

Many of these men and women gave their lives for our nation. They have protected our borders and preserved our freedoms. To this day, our military remains a committed group of men and women who will do what it takes to defend this country,

3. I am thankful for our freedoms.

I can write this article today because I have the freedom of speech. I can go to church with my family because I have the freedom to worship. It’s easy to take some of our freedoms for granted. I am thankful I live in a nation where freedom is built into our land’s DNA.

4. I am thankful for family.

My immediate and extended families were shaped by our nation’s families that preceded us. We are shaped by the spirit of pioneers, entrepreneurs, and committed and determined families that made this nation great. My family is the beneficiary of theses earlier families.

5. I am thankful for the right to vote.

I have the opportunity to choose my congressman, my mayor, my board of education member, and my president. My vote is as powerful as anyone else’s. The right to vote is an incredible privilege; I should never take it for granted.

6. I am thankful for material blessings.

Our nation is blessed with an abundance of resources. I realize that there are people starving in some nations. Poverty is ravishing other nations. Yet I enjoy an unprecedented national material prosperity. I must not take it for granted. And I must always be generous with what I have.

7. I am thankful for politicians of integrity.

The phrase ethical politician may seem to be an oxymoron, but there are thousands of politicians of integrity in our nation. They serve at local, state, and national levels. And most serve sacrificially because they love the home God has given to them.

8. I am thankful for sacrificial men and women.

Many are in the military. Many are politicians. Some are those who came from other places to establish this country. And many more are everyday men and women who have made great sacrifices to make this nation great.

9. I am thankful for the beauty of our nation.

My wife and I have traveled to all fifty states. In every location, we are amazed at the beauty of this land. God has given us an incredible place with majestic mountains, white beaches, open plains, towering forests, and sparkling lakes.

10. I am thankful for God who gave all these things to us.

We are a unique nation. Our founding fathers did not declare that our rights come from the government; rather they declared that our rights come from God. While I shed tears at the beauty of the stars and stripes, I am so much more grateful for the scars and stripes of Jesus Christ.

I would welcome your story. Why are you thankful for this nation?

Have a great Fourth of July.

And may God bless America.


  1. Bill Vann says

    Thom -
    Thank you for these words. I knew your late father who died much too young. He would be so proud of you, your love of this country, and your love of God. He was a true hero in World War II. He was the most loved man in his hometown. When anyone mentioned the name of Sam Rainer, they said it with great respect and even awe.
    Thank you for being a son who has continued his great legacy.

  2. Thom Rainer says

    Bill -
    Thank you for your gracious words. I would love to hear more about my dad from your perspective. He was truly my hero. I fear I fall very short of his legacy, but I am confident my sons will carry on the best of the Rainer name that he established. Your comment made my day!

  3. Steve Drake says

    Well said, Dr. Rainer. I love the Stars and Stripes/Scars and Stripes play on words. Not only is it catchy, it is also packed with edifying contrast.
    Since we’re not far removed from Father’s Day, let me add my thankfulness for my father. In my office there sits a boxed model of a PBY4, the B-24 bomber used by the Naval Airforce in WWII. My dad was a gunner who sat in the nose of the lead plane in the Blue Raiders squadron. His plane was named, “The Easy Maid” and had nose art of a pretty woman in a hula skirt. They were a decorated squadron having sunk 5 enemy destroyers. A few years ago my brother, Brian, and I searched the internet until we found a plane like Dad’s; we just wanted to honor his memory.
    I’m thankful to my dad for his service to our conutry, but even more thankful to him for his service to our family and his love for God. He was a plumber, a great plumber who subscribed to the admonition in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically as something done for the Lord and not for men.” He didn’t study much theology in plumbing school, but I still refer to him as a Great White Throne theologian, because we read the Bible every morning as he sat on the commode.
    He loved his country, his wife, his children and most of all his God, the God of the Bible. His gift to me is an example I will never be able to emmulate, though I do love my country, my wife, my children (and grandchildren) and most of all God, the God of the Bible.
    Oh, by the way, the model of that PBY4 bomber Brian found on the internet was the Easy Maid, the exact bomber in which Dad served his country. That was a good day for a son.

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