I was born on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence is my birth certificate. The bloodlines of the world run in my veins, because I offered freedom to the oppressed. I am many things and many people.
I am the United States of America.
I am 250 million living souls and the ghosts of millions who have lived and fought and died for me. I am Nathan Hale and Paul Revere, Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry. I stood at Lexington and fired the shot heard round the world. I am John Paul Jones, the Green Mountain Boys and Davy Crockett. I am Lee, Grant and Abe Lincoln. I remember the Alamo, the Maine and Pearl Harbor. When freedom called, I answered and stayed until it was over - over there. I left my heroic dead on the bleak shores of Korea and Viet Nam, in Flanders Field, the Rock of Corregidor and the desert sands of Kuwait.
I am the Brooklyn Bridge, the wheat fields of Kansas, the granite hills of Vermont. I am the coal mines of the Virginias and Pennsylvania, the fertile lands of the West, the Golden Gate and the Grand Canyon. I am Independence Hall, the Monitor, the Merrimac and the Challenger.
Ohhhh, I am big. I sprawl from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Three million square miles of land, throbbing with industry. I am more that two million farms, I am forest, field, mountain, and desert. I am quiet villages and cities that never sleep. You can look at me and see Ben Franklin walking down the streets of Philadelphia with his loaf of bread under his arm. You can see Betsy Ross with her needle, you can see the lights of Christmas and hear the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" as the Calendar turns.
I am George Washington Carver, Daniel Webster, and Jonas Salk. I am Babe Ruth and the World Series. I am more than 170,000 schools and colleges and more than 300,000 churches, where my people worship God as they choose. I am a ballot dropped into a box, the roar of a crowd in a stadium, the voice of a choir in a cathedral. I am an editorial in a newspaper and a letter to congress. I am John Glenn and Neil Armstrong and the fellow astronauts who whirl through space above my head. I am Eli Whitney and Stephen Foster, Tom Edison, Albert Einstein and Billy Graham.
Yes, I am the nation and these are the things that I am. I was conceived in freedom and, God willing, in freedom I shall spend the rest of my days. May I possess always the integrity, the courage and the strength to keep myself unshackled, to remain a citadel of freedom, and a beacon of hope to the world.
Have a beautiful day!