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The fourth of July in America. Fireworks, picnics, backyard cookouts and parades: a national holiday of prominence and singular importance for every American, or immigrant hoping to become an American citizen. A day of festivities, family, tradition, appreciation, thankfulness and patriotism for most. Except for me.

Please excuse me on this upcoming version on Thursday, for I cannot accept this years version of what the Fourth of July has stood to represent for Americans and Americana for 226 years. This years version has been tarnished and perverted by a government bent on destroying the legacy and grace of what the Fourth is endeared to represent in the minds of all Americans and a day in which we cease all other activities as a reminder of what freedom and patriotism fully represents and a day in which we loftily parade ourselves in full view of the world trumpeting our self-importance, arrogance and 'claimed' ascension to the world throne.

I want no part of this governments version of Americana, patriotism and its slander of what patriotism stands for, its version of what the world should look like and its demand that the world will acquiesce and subordinate to the will and demand of U.S. politicians and bureaucrats.

I cannot let my voice, my humanity, my brotherhood, my children, nor my family name and heritage be overlord to the rest of the world by clinched fist, threat and domination. The United States must return to a policy of dignity, integrity, engagement, fairness, truthfulness, diplomacy and multi-lateral cooperation in how we present ourselves within all worldly affairs.

I am a patriot. I am a soldier. I am an activist and I am a humanist. And I will eternally struggle for what is right and throw off what is wrong. And I will stand up to any politician, or bureaucrat, that chooses to take the challenge. I have issued the challenge before and I will do so again: "… you all have taken an oath of office, you all are under command and directive of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States and you all are in violation thereof. You must begin to be accountable to those instruments of freedom and to the mandate of the American people." I further challenge each and every one of you to defend - in public and by media coverage - to defend the position of the United States in policy conducted in my name, my children and my family.

I am a disabled American Veteran having served during the Viet Nam conflict. I was medalled and honored. My brother was awarded the Bronze Star. I served in the US Air Force, the Army National Guard reserves and was commissioned by both the Army and the US Coast Guard as a MMA (Admiralty) Captain. I was severely wounded in my service to my country.

My ancestors were extremely prominent in the settling and development of this country. We arrived on the Mayflower and were part of the very first settlements in America. We were the very first white settlers on Long Island. We were part of founding of Long Island and other parts of New York and New Jersey. My ancestors include Congressman Francis Hopkinson, whose signature is on the Declaration of Independence and who designed the American flag and the Great Seal of the United States. It was another family member that designed and built the pedestal base that the Statue of Liberty sits upon. We count two justices of the United States Supreme Court. A Secretary of War, an Assistant Attorney General, many graduates of West Point and many close associates and aides to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Sam Houston, General Richard E. Lee and others. We were at Potomac, the surrender of Cornwallis, in the Congress and fired the first shot of the Civil War. We helped form the Texas Rangers, the New Jersey Militia and served as President of the United States of America. When Abraham Lincoln's birth mother died, his father married my Aunt Sarah of whom the future President was especially fond. As is Ann Rutledge a relative, as is Mark Twain. Members of my family have served in literally every war, conflict and skirmish the United States has ever been involved being awarded every medal and honor except the Congressional Medal of Honor.

I am an American and I am a patriot and I will not taint my version of how the United States should portray and carry itself in international affairs and I will not cave to the ill-conceived demands of this Presidency and its staff, especially its definition of patriotism and what it is to be a patriot.

There must be resolve based on justice, integrity, dignity and fairness. No more corruption, no more leveraged special interests and no more deception.

The first place to start is the Middle East. This administration has made a terrible mess of attempting to bring peace to the region. The occupation must end! The singular obstruction to peace is the occupation, end it now. Not in steps, not piecemeal, not negotiated, not somewhere down the road: Now and under Resolutions 242 and 338, with immediate statehood and recognition for Palestine and the balance of the issues to be settled by negotiations during a limited time frame of three years. Failure to compromise with settlement on outstanding issues to be settled by the United Nations and agreed to by both parties. Get Israel out of Palestine and forcefully if necessary.

Patrick (Vandeventer) Johnston

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