A nation like no other

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2004

As I think about the Fourth of July, I take note of how our nation has had its ups and downs throughout its history.

We’ve made it through wars, economic depressions, high unemployment, political scandals and terrorist attacks.

Our country is still very young compared to other nations, but we should take pride in the fact we have been able to maintain the same form of government (as opposed to, say, France, which has been governed by no less than five republics since the downfall of Louis XVI in the late 1700s).

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We’ve accomplished a great deal in our 230-odd years of existence. If we are honest about our past, it hasn’t always been pretty. The mistreatment of Native Americans and the oppression of other racial and ethnic minorities is a part of our history we can’t, or at least shouldn’t, ignore or repeat.

And please, let us not forget the contribution of women. Without those hardy pioneer ladies, I doubt the pioneer men would have made it.

The truth is, our nation was built upon the blood, sweat and tears, and through the sacrifices, the faith, the tenacity and ingenuity, of men and women of every color, race, creed, nationality, religious and social background.

My brother-in-law’s family originally hailed from Spain. He grew up in Puerto Rico. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and retiree from the Navy, Tony can tell you stories of proudly marching in President Truman’s inaugural parade.

He worked as an engineer for NASA until retirement number two. These days my brother-in-law is a savvy wheeler-dealer on the stock market who invests in prime real estate on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Tony has been a hard worker – maybe even a bit of a workaholic – most of his life.

Why am I telling you about my brother-in-law?

Simple. You can bet my brother-in-law will be celebrating the Fourth of July. He may not have been born here, but he certainly loves, and believes in, America.

&uot;This country is full of amazing opportunities…there is nowhere else like it,&uot; he likes to say.

This weekend, celebrate a nation that’s like no other.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter and columnist for The Greenville Advocate. Contact her by phone at 382-5145, 437-2804 or by e-mail at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate. com