Editorial: Celebrate the independence today of the greatest nation on Earth

Jul. 03, 2013 @ 11:05 PM

Despite all our divisions, all our problems, all our challenges, America remains the greatest country on Earth. We are the envy of most of the world.

We celebrate our freedoms even while we argue over how far they should extend. Our leaders bicker and fuss and seemingly never agree on anything, yet they come together when they have to and present a united front whenever this country is threatened.

Today, the 237st year of American independence, is a time when all of us should pause, if only for a moment, and celebrate what we have. There is great opportunity in this land for anyone to achieve whatever he or she wants to achieve. We have survived a revolution, a civil war, slavery, two world wars, a terrorist attack and shifting political ideologies. We are the only true super power left in the world, and we are still trying to figure out what to do with all that power.

American history really began on the Fourth of July in 1776. Our Declaration of Independence may have been the first time in recorded history that any country said all people were created equal. The odds were against us in our fight against the British. If Las Vegas had existed, nobody would have bet against the boys from England.

The British were back in 1814, moving in to burn Washington. They were unsuccessful. On July 4, 1863, the three-day battle of Gettysburg had already sealed the fate of the South and the issue of slavery. The Fourth of July holidays were bloody in World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam. Remember the great celebration on the 200th birthday of the nation in 1976? And the first Independence Day after 9-11 was one never to be forgotten, both in its poignancy and emotion.

There is so much yet to be resolved. The United States is still a work in progress. It’s a democracy that has outlived most in world history. Our challenges, from global warming to energy to terrorism to the economy to education, loom large and seemingly insurmountable. But stop and look at that flag flying today. Remember what it stands for, and what the United States has endured and conquered over the last 237 years.

The land of the free and home of the brave can accomplish anything. It always has. And on this Fourth of July holiday, remember that it always will.