Today, Americans across the world will celebrate the birth of the United States. On this day in 1776, we officially declared our independence from the tyranny and oppression of the English king. It was an unprecedented act of defiance against the century’s most powerful country. In the ensuing war, only our steadfast hope for a better, more inclusive government allowed our troops to beat back the mighty armies of the king.
Too often, Americans focus on the negatives that engulf our great land: war, terrorism, economic woes, the list goes on. In all that gloom, we forget an important fact. Despite our problems, the United States of America is still, two hundred thirty years after its birth, the most respected, free and powerful nation on this earth. For over two centuries we have led the world in the direction of right. On this day we should forget all our nation is not and be thankful for all that it is.
We have stood proud against oppression in foreign lands. We have set the barrier for free trade. We have struggled to open our own land to people of different races and nationalities so that they too can experience the American dream. For those reasons we are the only superpower left on the globe.
On distant battlefields from the jungles of the south Pacific to the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of Iraq, our armies are respected and unparalleled. In both world wars we entered on the side of the downcast, beaten, and oppressed and used our skill as fighters, our dream as free men and women, and our trust in each other to defend freedom’s cause. At the conclusion of the wars, meanwhile, we used those same qualities to help the defeated rebuild their war torn nations – just as we are doing in Iraq today. Indeed, people across the world should be just as proud of America as we are. No country at any time in the eventful history of this world has been as helpful to people of foreign lands than the United States.
When the evil threat of communism began to appear at all corners of the world, what country issued a doctrine protecting any country from its threats? What country entered in hundreds of relief missions to save the world from the U.S.S.R.? What country committed our young men in our armed forces to defend world peace? Only the proud and strong United States of America.
And what of the Cold War’s end? Did the United States gloat at the poor, oppressed people of the former superpower the U.S.S.R.? Certainly not! Instead of invading the Soviet Union with bombers and missiles, we sent food, money and relief. Never before, had such an outright winner in a war provided so much help to the people of the defeated nation.
Because of a dream our soldiers had when they fought the British, because of a dream our fore-fathers had when they framed the Constitution, because of a dream shared by the millions of different people in America to promote peace, seek justice, and remove oppression from the world, we are the freest nation on the face of this earth.
On this day we should be thankful for all the extraordinary men and women who have made this country what it is today: George Washington, John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and the list goes on. These men and women not only embodied the American spirit, they lived the dream.
They understood that freedom, not oppression, is the way to lead a great nation to glory. America is a land of brave, smart, patient, and free individuals where everyone is allowed to blossom to their full potential. We are a nation of the people for the people. We may have lost our way occasionally throughout history, but time and again we have striven to correct our mistakes, to repay our debts, and to lead ourselves, and this world, in the right direction once again.
Too often we read between the stars and stripes and see the mistakes of our country and its leaders. Today, let’s look solely at the flag as it proudly billows in the wind and be thankful that we are citizens of the greatest nation this world has ever known: The United States of America.