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The Suburbanite
  • JIM MESKO: Happy Birthday, America!

  • I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to travel to a dozen foreign countries. And, while I have enjoyed visiting these nations, I always look forward to coming home and seeing the American flag flying over this country.

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  • Maybe that sounds a little "corny" but the Fourth Of July is America's birthday. Way back in 1776 thirteen divided colonies decided they had had enough the tyrannical rule of England and decided to strike out on their own.
    Today, historians estimate that only a third of the country was for all-out independence. Another third wanted to stay loyal to the mother country, while the last third were in the middle.
    But, no matter what, the die was cast when independence was declared in Philadelphia.
    And what a challenge they faced.
    England was the "superpower" of its day and the colonies had little in their favor except the determination to be free of rule of the king. It took five years to achieve that goal but, after numerous defeats and reversals, the Continental Army under George Washington – along with French troops – surrounded and defeated General Cornwallis at Yorktown. This final victory sealed the fate of the English in America, though it would take until 1783 to finally sign a peace treaty.
    Since then our nation has evolved into the country we live in today. We have had numerous trials and tribulations. Yet, somehow, through it all, we have survived and have become a beacon for the rest of the world.
    That is not to say we are perfect.
    As a country we have made mistakes. But for all the mistakes we have made we have done far more good.
    I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to travel to a dozen foreign countries. And, while I have enjoyed visiting these nations, I always look forward to coming home and seeing the American flag flying over this country. There is something about seeing the red, white and blue flying against the sky that sends a shiver up my spine.
    As far as I am concerned, the United States is the greatest country in the world.
    But we must never take our country for granted. To keep our freedoms takes courage, vigilance and determination. When we let our guard down we invite events like Pearl Harbor, 9/11, or the recent Boston bombing.
    So on this Fouth of July, "Happy Birthday America!” May you celebrate many, many more in freedom, peace and prosperity!