What makes America great? July 4th, 2011 marked the 235th birthday of the nation’s founding Declaration of Independence. At the heart of it, the United States was founded on a unique set of ideals and principles, which may not always be evident in current government policy, but have always inspired its supporters and nurtured progress.
America is a great country for many reasons, big and small. The website goodnewsnetwork.org asked their Facebook fans to list the things they love about the USA and received some heartfelt responses, some of which are included below.
1. The Founding Fathers – The first men in the modern world to wrestle with the meaning of freedom and natural-born rights, and how these should be the foundation of any government. Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, Adams and Madison were outstanding for both their convictions and courage — and their compromise, which was necessary to get anything of importance accomplished.
2. The First Amendment to the US Constitution – Freedom of speech — and religion — is guaranteed in the US under amendment I of the United States Constitution, as part of the Bill of Rights.
3. American Music – Rock and Roll greats always attribute their success to the soulful Blues music that grew up in the south and migrated to Chicago. Jazz also was an American original, flourishing in New Orleans and Harlem.
4. Its Natural Beauty – Tourists and Americans alike know the awesome splendor of America. You can drive from the seashore to the Rocky Mountains to the desert in a matter of hours. Along with the Great Lakes, the Appalachian range and the Mississippi River, these natural wonders create an unforgettable tapestry of recreation and industry.
5. Business Innovation like Apple, Inc. – Co-founded by college drop-out Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak 35 years ago, Apple this year became the most valuable technology company in the world and was named by Fortune magazine as the most admired one on the planet. The drive and imagination it took to create one of the world’s first personal computers and to transform the music industry with its iPod and iTunes — and mobile phones, with the beloved iPhone — exemplifies the American spirit of innovation. Also noteworthy is the company’s perseverance in lean times, not giving up when market share and stock prices plummeted in the early 1990’s.
6. The National Parks – One of our greatest treasures. Yellowstone National Park was the first one established, in 1872. The National Park Service, since its inception in 1916, has managed all the parks, now totaling 58 — each inspiring with a different vista, and offering new learning opportunities, from canyons — at the Grand Canyon — to volcanoes, to seashores, to hot springs, to sand dunes, to wetlands, like the great Florida Everglades.
7. Citizenship – One of the things that is unique about America is how you can become an American just because you believe in its ideals. By signifying your assent, you are ‘in.’ Citizenship ceremonies all over the nation show the multi-colored hue of the nation.
8. Great Cities – A great country has great cities, of course, and the US is no exception. From San Francisco, the golden gateway of the Pacific, to the Big Apple on the Atlantic, with Chicago nestled on the Great Lakes and Austin, Texas bringing up the south.
9. Election Day – Parents bring children to the polls to witness the inspiring spectacle of Americans choosing their leaders. Regardless of affiliation, we all get to go the polls and — without fear — cast our ballots.
10. American Entertainment – Hollywood has produced some ‘national treasures’, like Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and Sidney Poitier. Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand and Bob Dylan have sung their way into history. Television, also born in America, has left its mark – The Lucy Show, The Simpsons — along with stand-up comedians, like Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Cosby have kept us laughing.
11. The Diversity and Generosity of its People – The great “Melting Pot.” From great migrations of Irish people fleeing famine, and Italians looking for jobs, America has welcomed, for the most part, people of all cultures to join their ancestry to ours. One of the greatest traits of the American people is their generosity. And that includes the generosity of those who serve in the military.
Happy 235th birthday, USA!