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Thursday
August 13th, 2020
L&T Opinions Page

earl watt mugL&T Publisher Earl Watt

 

I am proud to be an American and always have been. No country has the story to tell like we do, and no place on Earth has been as welcoming to newcomers nor provided more opportunity than the United States of America.

It’s called American Exceptionalism for a reason. It’s because we are exceptional. We are different.

America has a great history.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. No nation and no individual can make that claim. But our story is still a great one.

Here are just a few moments that make America great:

 

Plymouth Bay colony, 1620

When a group of Puritans were not allowed to worship freely in England and Europe, they found their way to what is now Massachusetts.

They faced incredible hardships that first year, and 45 of the 102 pilgrims died.

Still, they pressed forward and established a colony. By November of 1621, they had built a small village, grew crops with the help of the local natives, and the cornerstone of religious freedom was established in America.

 

American independence 1776

After living under British rule for more than a century and a half, colonists in America were awakening to a new truth — man could govern himself.

The enlightenment took root along the coastline, and on July 4, 1776, the united States of America declared their independence from England and began a seven-year war against the mightiest power on Earth.

The pillar of self rule was established, and the concept of limited government followed, ensuring that the power of the nation would reside in the people.

Slavery would end 1861-1865

As the concept of freedom expanded in America, it conflicted with the inhumane concept of slavery. When the southern states seceded in 1861, the northern states fought to force those states back into the Union while also looking to remove the institution of slavery.

The Civil War took four years and claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Confederate soldiers and more than 400,000 Union soldiers.

In the end, slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.

 

Women’s right to vote 1919

Freedom continued to reach more people in America, and women were granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment in 1919.

 

World War II 1941-1945

America desperately tried to avoid involvement in European and Asian conflicts in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan Dec. 7, 1941, Americans who would later be called the Greatest Generation registered for military service and headed across two oceans to liberate those under the empirical rule of Germany and Japan.

With America’s aid, the nations of Europe and throughout the Pacific were liberated which also ended the Holocaust where 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. America also prevented Germany from attaining atomic capability which would have led to world conquest under Hitler.

Almost 300,000 American soldiers died to preserve freedom and fight fascist rule.

 

Civil rights expansion ongoing

From the battles to end segregated schools and restaurants to fights for equal pay for equal work, America continues to move toward a more fair and free society that extends the hope of the American Dream to everyone.

This battle started in the 1940s and continues to this day. 

Sure, mistakes were made along the way, but nothing can deny the overwhelming positive contribution America has made to humanity.

Life continues to get better, and it was made possible by those who laid the groundwork for freedom, those who committed themselves to the concepts that we were all endowed by our Creator with rights that no man and no government can take away from us.

As long as we continue to believe in that concept, freedom will continue to expand. As long as we believe government, not the people, should be limited, we will continue to be the great United States of America.

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