When was the last time throngs of American citizens crammed the National Mall all the way back from the foot of the Lincoln Memorial on Independence Day chanting "USA, USA?"

Ah, never. At least, not until last week that is, when President Donald J. Trump presented "A Salute to America."

What a day it was, and I suspect the first of many such Independence Days to come.

Trump, as usual, defied his critics by staging a non-political tribute to America and the American military complete with flags, tanks, planes and members of the various armed services. It was amazing as Trump guided us through American history and the stories of each of the military branches, including flyovers representing each.

The celebration was as American as apple pie and was followed by the annual PBS Fourth of July concert and fireworks.

And as expected, the Democrats and the media hated every minute of it.

The left has always felt uncomfortable with public displays of patriotism and nationalism. Not that they are less patriotic, but perhaps just a little less comfortable expressing themselves patriotically. It seems showy to them. Bragging. The whole idea of American exceptionalism is where they have their problem.

America is an exceptional nation. Democrats and the media need to loosen up and become more comfortable with that. They tend to need to apologize for America and to blame her. In the eyes of many on the left, America is a bully. Selfish. Egotistical. No better than the rest. The record proves otherwise.

America is a great country with a great past and an even brighter future. There is no reason to be embarrassed to be an American and every reason to feel great pride in that. It is often suggested that Republicans have failed to make a human connection. Democrats continue to fail to make the patriotic connection.

I believe that most to the left of center truly love America but they need to learn to be more expressive about that. I suspect that the next Democrat to occupy the White House will get it and will be more than delighted to carry on what I suspect will be a new Fourth of July tradition in D.C., "A Salute to America."

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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